Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Predicting Frans Nielsen's Season

07/23/2020 at 8:14am EDT

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

In this edition of Detroit Red Wings Fast Forward, a series that projects how a player will perform in 2020-21, the subject is Frans Nielsen....

Nielsen’s role on the team has diminished, an organic development as younger players have pushed for a bigger footprint. He didn’t play with scoring wingers this season, drawing the likes of Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Adam Erne and Luke Glendening. Nielsen used to be a regular on the power play but that changed this season, and he spent more time killing penalties. That played into numbers that stand out against his career output: He’d never before tallied below double digits in assists as a full-timer.

There are two years left on Nielsen’s contract. It is doubtful GM Steve Yzerman will buy him out because it’d be prohibitive — it would cost around $3.4 million against the salary cap in 2020-21 and roughly $4.4 million in 2021-22. Nielsen is still a good skater and passer, and is a dependable penalty killer.

He can still be of value to the Wings, and if he can earn some confidence with a good 2020-21, then there’s a chance Yzerman can unload him at the 2022 trade deadline, similarly to how veteran Mike Green was dealt at the 2020 deadline.

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