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RONNIE FRANCHISE MOVING ON?

Ron Francis is poised to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, as SooToday.com was first to report on Tuesday of this week. The 39-year old Sault Ste. Marie native is looking for a two-year contract, he told SooToday.com.

Ron Francis is poised to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, as SooToday.com was first to report on Tuesday of this week. The 39-year old Sault Ste. Marie native is looking for a two-year contract, he told SooToday.com. Francis is fresh from a 77-point season with the NHL Carolina Hurricanes. Francis is coming off a four-year, $20 million contract he signed with Carolina in 1998. He had spent the previous seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, helping them to a pair of Stanley Cups. Sportsnet.ca is reporting that Carolina has offered Francis a one-year contract extension with no raise in pay from the $5 million he earned this past season. Should Carolina not up the ante and give Francis a two-year deal instead of one, there figures to be a number of other NHL teams interested in the services of the slick centre once he becomes a free agent on Monday. Francis told SooToday.com that the "simple way" would be to remain in Carolina where he lives with his wife, Mary Lou, and children Kaitlyn, 11, Michael, nine, and Connor, five. But he added that he wants "a fair offer (from the Hurricanes) if I'm going to stay here." Francis, with 1,701 points in 21 seasons, is fifth on the NHL all-time points list, trailing only Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mark Messier and Marcel Dionne.

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