The Frans Nielsen era in Detroit needs to come to an end.
Signed to an exorbitant contract (6 years, $31.5 million) by former general manager Ken Holland in 2016 to help offset the loss of Pavel Datsyuk, Nielsen has seen his stats fall in each of his first three years with the team.
He’s played 16 games so far in the 2019-20 season, and has exactly zero points. Goaltender Jonathan Bernier is higher on the scoring list than Nielsen (two assists).
Of course, Nielsen himself knew of the need to make a good impression on new boss Steve Yzerman because as he put it in training camp, “none of us are his guys.”
If GM Steve Yzerman were to buy out his deal this summer, it would cost the team $666,667 over the next four years; nearly $2 million in salary would be saved over the next two years.
A career that saw Nielsen good for 40-50 points per season is quickly fading into obscurity, and Detroit would be wise to rid themselves of his anchor of a contract sooner rather than later.