NASHVILLE -- Like a lot of former players who got their start with the Nashville Predators, Cody Franson spoke fondly Thursday of the team that selected him in the third round in the 2005 NHL Draft (No. 79) and with which he began his NHL career.
The 26-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman shares a special bond not only with the organization, but with its captain, Shea Weber. Weber and Franson grew up three houses apart in Sicamous, British Columbia, and have been close ever since.
"He was always a guy that I looked up to," Franson said of Weber. "He was doing what I wanted to do. He played for the [Kelowna] Rockets when I wanted to play in the [Western Hockey League]. He played in the World Junior [Championship] when I wanted to play in the World Juniors. He was a guy who was always doing the exact same things I wanted to do and he was always a guy I could talk to when it came time for me to be able to do that kind of stuff.
"He's always been there for me. He's a great friend. He took me under his wing when I first started and I can't thank him enough for that."