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Rockford IceHogs sign former Blackhawks defenseman Cody Franson to 1-year AHL contract

Rockford adds a veteran presence to its defensive corps.

AHL: JAN 19 Rockford IceHogs at Cleveland Monsters Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cody Franson is back with the Blackhawks organization after signing a one-year AHL contract with the Rockford IceHogs on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old defenseman played the past two seasons with Omsk Avangard in the KHL, where he scored 43 points (eight goals, 35 assists) in 98 regular-season games and 24 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 25 playoff games.

Franson signed with Omsk after he split the 2017-18 season between the IceHogs and Blackhawks. He was a key role on the blue line for Rockford with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 37 regular-season games to rank second among team defenseman and 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in as many playoff games in the IceHogs’ run to the Western Conference Final.

Franson, a right-handed shot, will be the oldest player on Rockford’s roster and provide veteran leadership for the team’s defensemen.

“Cody is going to be a great addition to our squad and it will be like adding an extra coach for us,” IceHogs head coach Derek King said in a statement. “He may not have known it, but I kept an eye on him during his first time with us and he’s been coaching the younger players ever since. He’s a tremendous addition to our defensive core, the team overall, and willing to take younger players under his wing to show them how to be a good professional.”

Franson is among 11 defensman that could play for Rockford this coming season, which is scheduled to start Dec. 4.

Left handed: Nicolas Beaudin (21 years old), Lucas Carlsson** (23), Dennis Gilbert (24), Nick Seeler (27), Wyatt Kalynuk (23), Chad Krys (22)

Right handed: Cody Franson* (33), Ian Mitchell** (21), Dmitri Osipov* (24), Jack Ramsey* (25), Alec Regula (20)

*AHL deal

**Pushing for NHL spot

(Ages are listed when season starts)