The Chicago Blackhawks have signed free agent defenseman Cody Franson to a professional tryout according to freelance journalist Dhiren Mahiban (and later confirmed by Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune). Apparently Franson turned down one-year contracts with other teams in order to head to camp with the Hawks, perhaps to sign a contract after the season begins and Marian Hossa is placed on long-term injured reserve. Either way, Franson will finally have an NHL camp to skate in as he tries to secure himself a position in the league this year.

Franson, 30, is one of the most divisive players in the league. His play is simultaneously lauded for its breakout efficiency and general possession numbers, while criticized for a lack of defensive play (and sometimes even the ability to skate backwards). Some believe that he can still be effective as a low-key powerplay quarterback, getting the puck to the net through traffic, while others think he’s such a liability in his own end that it’s not worth it to deploy him for any meaningful minutes. The Blackhawks will decide that themselves in camp, when he battles with other fringe NHL players for the last few spots.