Detroit Red Wings: Frans Nielsen’s final year of contract bought out

(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings are preparing for the 2021-22 season, but their flurry of roster moves continues to happen. The recent one came in the form of a contract buyout from one of their veterans.

Frans Nielsen, a holdover from the Ken Holland era, was one of the final bad contracts still present on the roster. However, under the Detroit Red Wings new General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman, that type of contract just does not fly.

Yzerman is not handing out contracts like this but is cleaning house to make the Red Wings into the team he wants truly. Nielsen was slated to take home $5.25 million in the 2021-22 season, but instead, the Red Wings opted to go for the buyout.

With the new setup, Nielsen will take home $4.25 million in 2021-22 and $500,000 in 2022-23. It frees up a roster spot this season and will make it easier to mix in some of the team’s younger talent.

Detroit Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen has been bought out of his contract.

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Nielsen is now 37 years old, and the hindsight on his six-year, $31.5 million contract certainly does not look as good. His time in Detroit was not full of goals and good seasons; it was full of third and fourth-line exiles.

In 2020-21, the Red Wings veteran played in just 29 games, where he collected a whopping six points. One goal and five assists that were essentially nothing. It was pretty on par with his time here in Detroit.

His best season was his first in Detroit, the 2016-17 season where he scored 17 goals and added 24 assists for 41 total points over 79 games played. It’s a serviceable season, but things did not continue to work out.

From there, things only went downhill for Nielsen; he hovered in the 35-point range for the next two years before a sharp decrease in 2019-20. Things have not gone the way the Red Wings have hoped, but Yzerman opted to cut bait and free up space in the forward core.

This should leave players like Michael Rasmussen, and Joe Veleno excited, knowing they have better chances to lock down roles on the team for the upcoming season. Besides that, the Red Wings buyout of Nielsen is going to create a little predicament for the 2021-22 season.

The team is now without two of the assistant captains from the 2020-21 season. Luke Glendening has signed with Dallas, and Nielsen was bought out, which leaves the Red Wings with an obstacle. They will have to appoint two new players into a leadership role.

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Nonetheless, Yzerman has gotten rid of one of the pesky contracts with this buyout of Nielsen.