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Cody Franson surprisingly clears waivers, Erik Gustafsson recalled from AHL

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I mean, he’s not amazing, but nobody?

Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Cody Franson cleared waivers without being claimed Tuesday. It’s a bit surprising given he’s a solid veteran blue liner signed to a reasonable $1 million cap hit, but the other 30 teams passed on the opportunity to take his contract without sending anything back.

Following that development, the Hawks recalled Erik Gustafsson from the AHL and reassigned Franson to Rockford.

We broke down the Blackhawks’ decision to place Franson on waivers Monday, so you can read more about that there, but suffice to say it’s a bit surprising that nobody was interested in the defenseman. There are a lot of teams suffering from a lack of depth on the back end. Franson theoretically could’ve helped someone.

But ultimately nobody wanted the defenseman in the end, presumably for many of the same reasons that the Blackhawks decided to move on. He’s never been the fastest skater or the most reliable guy in his own end, and that’s repeatedly cost him chances despite some very good results when used in a more offensive role.

As Sportnet’s Chris Johnston pointed out, it’s possible this could be the precursor to a trade involving Franson. If a team had claimed him off waivers, he would’ve needed to clear waivers again to be sent to the AHL. Now that he’s cleared waivers with the Blackhawks, another team could acquire him via trade and immediately assign him to the AHL for organizational depth. It’s the same situation that saw Calvin Pickard clear waivers, then be traded to the Leafs earlier this season.

So maybe the Hawks will still be able to recoup something of value from the situation. Otherwise, he’ll be required to report to Rockford for now, which probably isn’t what he had in mind after passing on other offers to take the Blackhawks’ PTO in September.