Detroit Red Wings to buy out the bloated contract of underachieving Frans Nielsen

The Red Wings are buying out his contract after five seasons.


Another bloated contract signed by former Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland goes up in smoke. 

The Red Wings announced earlier this afternoon that they'll be placing underachieving veteran forward Frans Nielsen on waivers for the purposes of a buyout. He has until noon tomorrow to clear, which he almost certainly will. 

Nielsen, who is 37 years of age and holds the distinction of being the first Danish player in the NHL, will count against Detroit's salary cap for $4.25 million in 2021-22 and $500,000 in 2022-23, per CapFriendly. More importantly, it opens up a roster spot. 

Nielsen came to the Red Wings during the free-agent frenzy summer of 2016, being rewarded for his productive decade with the New York Islanders with an a bloated six year, $31.5 million dollar contract. Of course, the thought by Holland (who certainly loves to give players north of 30 years of age big-time deals) at the time was that Nielsen would help offset some of the offensive production that was leaving the team in the form of Pavel Datsyuk, who elected to continue his playing career in his native Russia.

And while Nielsen didn't have a terrible first season in Detroit (17 goals, 24 assists), he didn't provide the offense that the team was hoping for. In fact, he saw his on-ice production continue to slide. He'd rack up a mere 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) during the 2017-18 campaign, with a slightly improved stat mark of 35 points (10 goals, 25 assists) in 2018-19. 

However, it was the following season that his production completely cratered. He'd score a mere four goals with five assists during the 2019-20 season before it was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This most recent season saw him score only a single goal with five assists; he was also waived.

In 925 career games with the Islanders and Red Wings, Nielsen has scored 167 goals with 306 assists for a total of 473 points. He's also scored four goals with six assists in 24 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.