The Detroit Red Wings erased one of the few remaining errors of the past on Thursday afternoon, opting to officially buy out the lone remaining year on forward, Frans Nielsen's contract.
Nielsen, who signed with Detroit on July 1st, 2016, was set to count for $5.25 million against the Red Wings' cap for the 2021-22 season, making him the second-highest paid forward on the roster. With this buyout now in effect, however, the Red Wings open up an extra $1 million in cap space for this season while absorbing a $500,000 hit against their cap for 2022-23.
It's a surprise that Nielsen even made it this far into his six-year contract with the Red Wings, frankly.
The Swiss centre fell off from a production standpoint almost immediately after moving to Detroit, failing to ever crack 20 goals or top 50 points in a Red Wings uniform before bottoming out with a paltry 6 points in 26 games last season. Nielsen's usage dipped along with his scoring, too. After averaging more than 17 minutes per game in his first year with the Red Wings, Nielsen was only seeing the ice for a little over 12 in 2021, failing to control any sort of positive possession while playing predominantly on the wing.
What Nielsen served as to Red Wings fans towards the end of his tenure was a grim reminder of just how much damage Ken Holland did to the team's future before bolting to Edmonton.
Most of those wayward signings are gone now. And with Nielsen joining Justin Abdelkader as the two buyouts remaining on Detroit's cap, Steve Yzerman can finally begin to chart a new course without holdovers from a bygone era.