Interesting news on the waiver wire today:
Henrique clears. Frans Nielsen (DET) on waivers— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 21, 2021
Not only did the Wings elect not to take on one big disappointing contract, they’re now in the process of at least giving themselves the opportunity to partially deal with one they already have.
Nielsen has this season and the next remaining on his six-year deal with Detroit at a cap hit of $5.25M.
The cap hit isn’t a problem for Detroit this season, and they won’t get more than $1.125M in relief for Nielsen clearing waivers and being assigned. The problem for the last couple seasons is that Nielsen is not capable of playing up to the level that earned him this deal when he became a UFA with the Islanders and Detroit was looking for center help in the wake of Pavel Datsyuk’s defection.
Nielsen has 0 goals and 3 assists in 18 games this season. He’s played mostly fourth line minutes and on the penalty kill, averaging 14:50 TOI. He and Luke Glendening are currently wearing the A on their sweaters.
Nielsen clearing at noon on Monday (and he will clear) doesn’t mean that he WILL be assigned, but it means he can be. If assigned either to the Taxi Squad or the Griffins, this would clear up a roster space and the $1.125M in cap space previously mentioned. If he’s not immediately assigned, he can stay on Detroit’s roster for a total of 30 days or 10 NHL games before he’d have to clear again.
Nielsen still has a modified NTC with a 10-team no-trade list but since it’s not a no-movement clause, he can be assigned.