The Mallards are the ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild and the American Hockey League’s Iowa Wild.
Francis spent last season with Alba Volan Szekesfehervar, a Hungarian club that competes in the Austrian Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. The 27-year-old scored 29 points (12g-17a) in 50 Austrian league games last year.
Francis last played in North America two seasons ago when he set career highs in goals (26), assists (36) and points (62) while playing 69 games for the Alaska Aces. He has piled up 138 points (93g-145a)s in 378 career games.
Francis joined the Aces after three-plus seasons with the Las Vegas Wranglers, who he helped to a berth in the 2012 Kelly Cup Finals. Francis first suited up for the Wranglers as a rookie in 2010-11 having also spent parts of his first professional season 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 recorded 189 points (66g-123a) in 279 career junior games.