Former Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen earned a tribute article for his time as a New York Islander, as penned by The Athletic’s Arthur Staple, and Staple does address Nielsen’s decision to leave the Islanders for the Red Wings some five seasons ago (as well the part Nielsen played in helping Denmark qualify for the Olympics last week):
He went for the Wings’ six-year offer at $5.25 million per year with a full no-move clause for two years and a modified no-trade thereafter. It didn’t work out, of course: The Wings fell off quickly, first with Pavel Datsyuk leaving just as Nielsen arrived and Henrik Zetterberg forced into retirement two years later. Nielsen was a healthy scratch for half of last season’s games.
“Of course you look back and wonder,” he said. “I made up my mind a while ago that this would be my last year playing here, so I think, if I took eight years, would I still want to keep going? I’m 37. Playing to 40 doesn’t seem possible for me the way I feel sometimes.”
Given the COVID protocols around the world and the fact that Nielsen’s wife, Moa, is due to give birth to the couple’s third child in December, he could end up signing in Sweden or elsewhere in Europe soon. Bringing the whole family back to North America for a part-time NHL role may not be what they want in the run-up to the Olympics in February.