On Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks made a surprising move by placing defenseman Cody Franson on waivers. In what come as even more of a surprise, the veteran defender has cleared waivers and will be assigned to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.
Many across the league felt that Franson would be claimed by another team, but he still could be on the move via a trade. His trade value might actually increase now because now that he has cleared waivers, any team who acquires can move him between the NHL and AHL without putting him back through the waiver process.
If you recall, earlier this season goaltender Calvin Pickard cleared waivers before the Vegas Golden Knights trading him to the Toronto Maple Leafs. A general manager might be willing to give up a late-round draft pick in order for the flexibility with Franson.
Once Franson was assigned to the AHL, the Blackhawks recalled defenseman Erik Gustafsson for the IceHogs to take his roster spot. We last saw Gustafsson with the Blackhawks during their first-round playoff lost to the St. Louis Blues in 2016. He appeared in 41 games during the 2015-16 regular season where he had 14 assists, a +11 goal differential and a 54.0 CF%.
Gustafsson has had a very good season in Rockford, despite missing about a month due to injury. He has three goals, 17 points and a -3 goal differential in 25 games and was named to the AHL All-Star team, along with Vinnie Hinostroza.