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(Article)Beefed-up Cain Franson feels able to hold his own for Giants


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Cain Franson’s scouting reports used to centre around his sleight of hand and his slight of build.

The latter won’t likely be as focused on this season.

The Vancouver Giants crafty sniper, who was listed at 167 pounds on his 6-foot-1 frame at this time last year, weighed in at 183 pounds at the start of this training camp in Ladner last week. Not coincidently, Franson is playing with as much verve as he ever has along the boards and in the corners.

He’ll be going up against bigger, stronger, older bodies during his free-agent tryout with the Vancouver Canucks at the Young Stars Tournament Sept. 5-9 in Penticton, but things are trending the right way at least.

“”I’m hoping to show them that I can play the physical side of the game because I think I can,” said the 20-year-old Sicamous native, who says he was 172 pounds when he went home from Vancouver at end of last season.

“I don’t feel like I get pushed around. I’m definitely a lot stronger than some guys give me credit for.

“Every summer I’ve made a lot of gains.”

He’s proven he can score at the WHL level. He tallied 27 goals in 70 games in 2011-12 with limited power-play minutes, and he notched 29 goals in 60 games last year on the worst team in the country. He scores smart goals; deflections, wraparounds, catching the goalie thinking pass.

And while he admits he’ll never be a true grinder, he does think that he can hold his own enough defensively to handle third- or fourth-line duty at the minor pro level as he learns the ropes.

There’s an argument there. With Giants coach Don Hay, the words “safe,” and “reliable,” are superlatives. That’s how defensively focused he is, and Franson has been under his watch for three seasons.

“He thinks the game really well and he’s always a step ahead of where you need to be,” said Giants 19-year-old forward Dalton Sward. “Franny knows how to get the puck out [of the defensive zone] when he gets it. He can check. He can do everything.”

He has a good at-home tutor. Older brother Cody Franson, 26, was a star on the blueline with the 2007 Memorial Cup-winning Giants, and is a restricted free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs coming off a stellar playoff.

The Fransons were part of a workout group in Kelowna this summer that included the Edmonton Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz and Los Angeles Kings defenceman Keaton Ellerby.

“We worked on a lot of stuff,” Franson said of his older sibling.

“He helped me with my shot a lot. He helped with the little details of the game.

“I’m going to be playing with bigger and stronger guys and the pace is going to be quicker, so there were little things I had to learn about where to put the puck and how to protect it.”

Franson admits that he knows that landing a contract out of this one tournament with the Canucks is a long shot. That said, a strong showing could get the Canucks and other teams to pay even closer attention to him with the Giants as the WHL season goes on. He does look like a different guy than teams saw before right now.

“I’m just going to there and give it my all,” said Franson

Determination, and hard work, will get ya places kid.

Dont let up

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I really hope Canucks sign him, he really looks like a solid bottom 6 NHLer when I watched him during Giants games last year. I think Canucks see the same thing cause this is the 2nd camp invite he'll receive (I think he received another one not sure by the sounds of the article)

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I really hope Canucks sign him, he really looks like a solid bottom 6 NHLer when I watched him during Giants games last year. I think Canucks see the same thing cause this is the 2nd camp invite he'll receive (I think he received another one not sure by the sounds of the article)

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He's a long shot to even make it to the NHL, thus the Canucks need not offer him a contract as they're near the limit.

Perhaps Cain will spend another year with the Giants as an overager under the guidance of Don Hay. Afterwards, maybe one of the Canucks affiliates can sign him (ECHL most likely) so he can develop within the Canucks system.

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Definitely a guy to keep an eye on, if he's got his brother's late bloomer DNA, he could turn out to be a pretty useful player down the line.

Look at the difference between Cody in Nashville and the last half of last year and the playoffs, night and day. His ceiling (and earning power) has reached a level way above anything he has shown in his pro career so far.

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