Detroit Red Wings: 4 contracts that will not end fast enough

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Red Wings
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Frans Nielsen

If there is a bright side to a shortened NHL season in 2021, this is it.  Detroit Red Wings fans won’t be forced to watch the diminishing skill-set of Frans Nielsen coast around the ice surface for 82 games this season.

When the organization signed the former New York Islander who played second-fiddle to John Tavares for years, it seemed like a no-brainer.  The Detroit Red Wings had struggled mightily losing game after game in the shootout did justify signing one of the best to take part in the skills competition that the league has deemed a viable option to prevent regular-season ties.

Also, the Red Wings needed a center that would have the ability to step in and play second-line minutes and be a productive offensive player behind captain Henrik Zetterberg with Pavel Datsyuk headed home to finish his career in the KHL.

The problem wasn’t in the first three years of Nielsen’s lucrative six-year contract that averages a whopping $5.25 million per season. However, his offensive production started to reveal signs of drying up.

After averaging 14.3 goals and 36.3 points per year over the first three years, Neilsen recorded nine points, including four goals last season for the Detroit Red Wings.  You can make a strong argument that Neilsen never lived up to his contract in Detroit, but he had been somewhat productive along with playing a stellar two-way game that usually fails to show up in the stat column.

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Now he’s fallen way off into a high-priced, overpaid fourth-line center with two years remaining on his deal.  It’s a contract that can’t end fast enough.