The Detroit Red Wings have announced that veteran forward Frans Nielsen has been placed on waivers. Since coming to the Red Wings, Nielsen’s production has severely fallen off to the point where he did not score more than ten points in 2019-20 and likely was not going to get there this season.
But now, in a “COVID season,” there have been some changes allowing the Detroit Red Wings to capitalize on roster flexibility. With the season being shortened to 56 games and the implementation of a taxi squad, Nielsen being exiled should not shock anyone.
Frankly, it is about time for Nielsen to get moved out of the Red Wings bottom-six. The veteran was stealing ice time from players like Givani Smith and Michael Rasmussen, who have since been exiled to the taxi squad and minors.
Taking away ice time from guys like this only manages to hurt the development of some of these guys. The younger players need to develop, and they cannot do that sitting on the bench while Nielsen skates around like a moving pylon.
Finally placing Frans Nielsen on waivers is what is best for the Detroit Red Wings.
Providing that Nielsen clears waivers, the Red Wings will have some flexibility. There is no doubt that Nielsen should clear waivers given that Adam Henrique has cleared waivers, and if anything, the Red Wings should have jumped on that.
But once Nielsen clears, they can move him to the taxi squad and free up a spot in the lineup and allow someone else to dress who might actually positively affect the lineup on a nightly basis. If only the Red Wings opted to do this with Adam Erne and company as well.
In 2020-21, Nielsen has played in 18 games where he has just three assists, and he’s somehow even in terms of his plus-minus. On a team whose average Corsi For % (CF%) is lower than some of the league’s competitive teams, Nielsen falls well below the team average.
Nielsen has a CF% of 45.0%, which is a full 4.5% below the team’s average. It is time to put Nielsen on the taxi squad, and it is nice to see the Red Wings finally realize this and make the corresponding move to make this happen.
Quickly after being reassigned to the minors and being sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL, Givani Smith could be a candidate to get back on the ice for the Red Wings. He deserves a look as his demotion was upsetting, saying the least.
Frans Nielsen being placed on waivers truly is a good thing given that he can free up space for players who deserve a look at the NHL level in 2020-21.