DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today signed free agent center Frans Nielsen to a six-year contract.
A veteran of 606 NHL games, all with the New York Islanders, Nielsen has tallied 349 points (119-230-349) and 112 penalty minutes. He ranked third on the Islanders in 2015-16 with 52 points, also placing among team leaders with 20 goals (4th), 32 assists (4th), seven power-play goals (T2nd), two shorthanded goals (T1st), 181 shots on goal (4th), an 11.0 shooting percentage (6th) and 17:43 average time on ice (8th overall/3rd among forwards). The 32-year-old, 6-foot-1, 188-pound, forward has also been durable over his career, playing in 369 of a possible 376 games since 2011-12. His most productive NHL season came in 2013-14 when he set career highs in all offensive categories en route to a 58-point season (25-33-58). He has also registered 10 points (4-6-10) in 24 career playoff games, including six (3-3-6) in 11 games during the Islanders’ postseason run in 2016. Nielsen is the NHL’s all-time leader in shootout goals with 42, including 17 shootout-deciding goals, and his 51.2 shootout percentage is fifth-best all-time among players with 20-or-more shots.
Originally drafted in the third round (87th overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Nielsen has nearly 1,000 games of professional experience in the NHL (606), Swedish Hockey League (216), American Hockey League (102), Danish Hockey League (38) and Finnish SM-Liiga (27). He collected 82 points (30-52-82) in 102 games with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers from 2006-08 prior to graduating to full-time NHL duty. Before moving to North America, Nielsen notched 59 points (24-35-59) in 216 SHL games with the Malmo Redhawks and Timra IK from 2001-06. He also appeared in 27 games for Lukko in Finland’s top pro league in 2012-13, picking up 24 points (4-20-24).
Nielsen, a native of Herning, Denmark, also has the distinction of being the first Danish citizen to make the NHL and is the league’s all-time leading scorer among Danish-born players. He has extensive international experience, representing his country in the IIHF World Championships on seven occasions, totaling 20 points (8-12-20) in 44 games and being named a top-three player on the team in 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2012. Nielsen was also named to Team Europe for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which will begin on Sept. 17 in Toronto.