MLive’s Ansar Khan examines Frans Nielsen’s season outlook this morning:
2019-20 outlook: Nielsen was signed to a six-year, $31.5 million contract on July 1, 2016, when the Red Wings were desperate for a center after Pavel Datsyuk left for Russia and were trying to extend their playoff streak rather than rebuild.
The move hasn’t panned out. Nielsen’s production has declined the past two seasons and his contract could be an issue next off-season, when the team might need to consider a buyout.
For now, Nielsen will be the second- or third-line center (Valtteri Filppula will fill the other spot). He’ll continue to kill penalties. It remains to be seen how much he’ll play on their power play, where he wasn’t as effective last season (no goals, eight assists). He wasn’t nearly as effective in shootouts but remains one of the best in the game and will still be one of the top team’s three options.