33-Year-Old Center – Detroit Red Wings
Frans Nielsen Contract Information:
Signed a six-year, $31.5 million contract with the Red Wings in July of 2016.
Nielsen was the lone shootout scorer in Tuesday's 5-4 home win over the Flyers.
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Frans Nielsen: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Detroit lost Pavel Datsyuk in the offseason and failed to court the immensely talented Steven Stamkos, who ended up re-signing with Tampa Bay, but the addition of Nielsen should soften the blow. After spending 10 seasons with the Islanders, Nielsen hit the open market this past July and promptly inked a six-year, $31.5 million contract, keeping him in Hockeytown through age 38. GM Ken Holland loves stocking up on well-rounded veterans, and Nielsen fits the mold as a special-teams spark plug with supreme on-ice awareness, a scoring touch, and a sense of defensive responsibility. The first Danish player in NHL history, Nielsen averaged 0.57 points per game with the Isles and projects to serve as the second-line center for the Wings, making him an ideal complement to the first forward you draft.
Nielsenís offensive production may be sliding a bit, but this lifelong Islander whoís logged more than 500 games with the embattled franchise is arguably the heart and soul of the team. Notable for looking like a great player on bad teams and content to plug away as a steady two-way player on better ones, Nielsen had another solid season in 2014-15. In 78 games -- a testament to his work ethic as he was banged up for much of the season -- Nielsen scored 14 goals and 29 assists while playing as the second-line center. His work on the power play is admirable, but his real value lies in being the teamís best penalty killer by a wide margin, once scoring a league-high seven shorthanded goals back in 2010-11. While his fantasy value may not be that high due to his willingness to do a little bit of everything, his point-scoring consistency and the improvement of his linemates should give him some value at the back end of drafts.
Nielsen had his best season to date last year with 25 goals and 33 assists, including five power play goals. He has always been considered one of the best two-way centers in the game, but this kind of offensive output was still unexpected. The Islanders are loaded at center and with the addition of Mikhail Grabovski, Nielsen is slated to center the third line. It's no secret that the Islanders are looking to trade away at least one of their forwards to add a defenseman and Nielsen could be the odd man out, as he would likely bring back the best return.
Nielsen's numbers suffered a bit last season as he only had six goals and 29 points to go along with a -3 in 48 games. Although he is one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL, his plus/minus totals can be disappointing. This has more to do with the team he plays on than his ability. At this point in time, it looks like Nielsen will center the second line, but that could change if Ryan Strome makes the team out of training camp and stays at his natural center position.
Outside of John Tavares, Nielsen may be the most valuable Islander. His numbers keep getting better each season, he's very good on faceoffs and in the defensive zone, and is as close to automatic in the shootout as a player can be. Right now he's the second line center, but once Ryan Strome is ready to make his debut he could be pushed down to the third line or possibly Strome will be moved to wing to either play on the top line with Tavares, or second line with Nielsen. Nielsen is worth a look in deeper leagues and close to one-third of his 47 points were on the power play last season.
Nielsen's numbers from last season may not be all that impressive - 13 goals, 31 assists - but he is considered one of the more underrated players in the game for his all-around play. He is very good in his own end and on faceoffs, and is one of the few Islanders to have a plus.minus above 10. He might very well be best known for his shootout ability as goaltenders seem to be helpless when he goes to his backhand. Once again, he will center the Islanders third line in 2011-12.
Nielsen is another up-and-comer in the Islanders system. Nielsen had 12 goals last season -- a slight improvement over the nine he had the season before -- but will need to continue to improve to stick with the big team. It may have taken some time but the Islanders are starting to build up some organizational depth and if Nielsen is unable to deliver then the Isles may call up someone who can.
Nielsen raised a few eyebrows in his first full season with the club. He missed over a month of action due to a leg injury, but rolled off 24 points in 40 games when he was back on the ice. His 33 points were the 5th highest on the team and his 16 power-play points were good for third on the club behind only Mark Streit and Doug Weight. As well, his plus/minus was one of the few on the team to not be at double-digits in the negative (minus-4). A lot of his success will be tied to which line (and which players) he centers.
Nielsen has had some success in the AHL the last two seasons, but did not show much in his brief stints with the Isles over the same period of time. He does have one thing that may help him get a longer look from the Islanders: chemistry with Kyle Okposo. The line of Nielsen, Okposo and Jeff Tambellini clicked when KO arrived at Bridgeport, so perhaps the team will give the trio a chance at the NHL level.
After playing the last five years in Sweden, Nielsen finally touched ice in the Islandersí organization in 2006-07. He has great playmaking skills, and in his first stint in the AHL he added a slight scoring touch. He potted 20 goals in 54 games with Bridgeport, and if he continues to improve his scoring ability, the Isles will call his number at some point this season.
Nielsen will play in Bridgeport of the AHL for the 2006-07 season.