The Mallards are the ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's Vegas Golden Knights and the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves.
In 63 games last season, Francis scored a career-high 27 goals and registered 33 assists to finish tied for the team lead with 60 points while serving as the Mallards’ captain. The 28-year-old Las Vegas native reached a pair of milestones last year by recording his 300th career point and scoring his 100th ECHL goal.
Francis has scored 120 goals and notched 180 assists in 441 games over seven professional seasons.
Francis returned to North America with the Mallards last season after spending 2015-16 with Alba Volan Szekesfehervar, a Hungarian club that competes in the Austrian Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. He scored 12 goals and picked up 17 assists for 29 points in 50 games with Szekesfehervar.
The Mallards are Francis’s third ECHL club. He skated for the Alaska Aces in 2014-15 after playing in his hometown with the Las Vegas Wranglers for the prior three-and-a-half seasons. Francis, who helped Las Vegas to a berth in the 2012 Kelly Cup finals, first joined the Wranglers as a rookie in 2010-11 having also spent parts of his first professional campaign with the Fort Wayne Komets - who were then in the Central Hockey League - and the American Hockey League’s Springfield Falcons.
Francis turned pro after four Western Hockey League seasons with the Portland Winterhawks, for whom he produced 66 goals, 123 assists and 189 points in 279 career junior games.