Vancouver Giants Alumni Update Part 5/6
Cody Franson (25 years)
Another big contributor in the 2007 Memorial Cup victory, Franson has earned his place in the NHL. After 2 seasons and change with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL, Franson got called up to the Nashville Predators early in 09-10 and hasn’t looked back since. After 2 seasons in Nashville, last year he picked up 21 points in 57 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is currently a restricted free agent with Toronto.
Tyson Marsh (28 years)
This former tough guy played his last full season in Vancouver in 03-04. From 2004 to 2010, he bounced around the AHL and ECHL, playing for several teams in both leagues. For one season in 2010-11, Tyson took his skills to Italy. Last season in 2011-12, Marsh split time between a Tier 2 German league and the Alaska Aces of the ECHL. For the upcoming season, he will suit up for the Cardiff Devils of the EIHL (Elite Ice Hockey League) in the United Kingdom.
A.J. Thelen (26 years)
At 6’3 and well over 200lbs, he was a highly-touted defenseman and a first-round pick in 2004, going 12th overall to the Minnesota Wild. Just like Cam Cunning, Thelen only played 30 games for the Giants (in the 06-07 season), picking up 9 points. The next 3 seasons for A.J. were spent in the ECHL, with a brief 9-game audition in the AHL with Rochester coming in the 09-10 season. His last recorded season playing hockey was with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL in 2010-2011.
Jonathon Blum (23 years)
Widely considered the best defenseman in Giants history, Blum was also noticed by the Nashville Predators, who selected him 23rd overall in the 2007 draft. But ever since his 66 point season with the Giants (in 51 games) in 2008-09 (during which he was captain), it hasn’t been exactly smooth sailing for the California native. After a promising 41 point season with Milwaukee in the AHL, Blum followed that up with 34 points in just 54 games in 2010-11. That prompted a call-up to the Preds that season, where he picked up 8 points and was a +8 through 23 games. However the 2011-12 season was a tough one for Blum, as he picked up 7 points in 33 games and finished a -14. He was sent to the AHL for the rest of the year, where he played 47 games, picking up 26 points. He, like many other ex-Giants, now sits waiting as a restricted free agent.
James Wright (22 years)
Another Giant who was with the organization throughout his whole WHL career, James impressed the Lightning so much in 2009-10 (they drafted him in the 4th round in 08) that he made their team right out of camp as a 19 year old and played a whopping 48 games, collecting 2 goals and 5 points. At that point though, the Lightning decided to send him back to major junior, and he came back to the Giants to finish the season with 19 points through 21 games. Since then, with the exception of 1 game, he’s played solely in the AHL with the Norfolk Admirals and then the San Antonia Rampage (after his rights were traded to Florida). He recently signed a new 2-year deal with them worth $1.3 million at the NHL level, which kicks in this coming season.