A bit about the Frans Nielsen buyout

CapFriendly revealed that the Red Wings are going to buy out Frans Nielsen today, and the “takes” came raining down from The Athletic’s Sean Gentille, the Hockey News’s Mike Stephens, Sportsnet, MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Free Press’s Marlowe Alter, Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen, etc.

The consensus is the same regarding the native of Herning, Denmark: Frans Nielsen, now 37, has outlived his usefulness as an NHL player. He was waived and on the taxi squad at times last season, and while Ken Holland himself suggested that Nielsen’s contract might not age well in its final years…

The $4.75 million cap hit that the Wings are saddled with (and $1 million in actual dollars) for the two seasons ($4.25 million this upcoming season, and only $500,000 in 2022-2023) are worth the investment.

As many have suggested, the Nielsen that the Red Wings signed in 2016, when Ken Holland swung and missed at signing Steven Stamkos (who did not even consider the Red Wings’ offer), inking Nielsen and Thomas Vanek instead…Was not the Nielsen that was playing and sitting for the Red Wings during the 2020-2021 season. Nielsen appeared exhausted from the Red Wings’ losses, and the grind of professional hockey.

In a happy world, he goes home and plays for the Herning Blue Fox of the Dansk Metal League this upcoming season, wrapping up his pro career in his hometown, a Danish NHL pioneer and idol of many of his contemporaries who simply never lived up to the expectations he was given as “Pavel Datsyuk’s replacement” in Detroit.

More than anything, Nielsen’s departure frees up a roster spot for a younger, hungrier and less beaten-down-by-the-losing player on the Wings’ forward roster.

This also closes a chapter of late-era Ken Holland signings that bit the Wings in the butt (via dead weight on the cap in the form of Nielsen and Justin Abdelkader’s buyouts), and it’s just a relief to know that the late-Holland era of Red Wings roster-filling has passed us by.

Nielsen’s departure doesn’t guarantee improvement, but it helps forge a younger, leaner and hungrier Red Wings roster, from stem to stern, and that’s the direction this team needs to take starting in mid-September.

Published by

George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

4 thoughts on “A bit about the Frans Nielsen buyout”

  1. A thought I had was with additional cap space are they considering an offer to an RFA like Elias Petterson?

    I then saw the idea occur to someone over at WIIM.

    1. Sure, they could do it, but I’d be surprised if Yzerman resorts to an offer sheet. That’s not his style.

  2. I too would be surprised, but I did have the thought. I just don’t feel that the Wings would want to pay the cost that would come with it. But that thought got me wondering and thinking about possible moves and there just aren’t too many.

    No more high cost free agents are out there, so what about a big cap clearing trade for someone?

    1. I think that’s way more likely. There are more than a couple of teams that are above the cap presently, and I could see the Wings taking on a higher-salaried player along with some picks or prospects in exchange for cap relief.

Comments are closed.