The Detroit Red Wings buyout of Frans Nielsen on Thursday reveals that Steve Yzerman has now eliminated all but one hefty contract from the Ken Holland era, continuing the movement away from a bloated cap hell and into one that offers more spots for younger players and an organization suddenly flush with cap space.
All in the matter of under three years. Not bad.
Nielsen wasn’t going to add value this season, mirroring or more likely coming under what he did last season. Similar to when Yzerman bought out Justin Abdelkader, there’s just more out there for the Red Wings to get at a much better price.
It was a mystery whether the Nielsen buyout would happen and very much hoped for by many. Now that it’s official, it will be interesting to see who the extra player will be on the roster.
Yzerman Continues to Move Detroit Forward
When he took over in 2019, Yzerman preached patience and said that things had to be done the right way. The translation from that was it would take time and some pain in order to get Detroit back to what it once was. The 2019-20 season was certainly that but it also helped in revealing just how bad things had gotten. From there, Yzerman could begin to shuttle bad contracts or poor performing players and bring in his own players. Which he’s done. Nielsen’s contract is the last of a bad batch–Danny DeKeyser’s runs out after this season, leaving Yzerman with a lot of freedom to take Detroit to the next desired level.
Nielsen’s roster spot also brings up two other questions: first, who will be the next Wing to wear the A, and two, who might possibly be up with the team now that the spot opened. There a slew of younger, talented forwards knocking on the door, and now this means at least one can be a healthy scratch if another has an unbelievable preseason (Lucas Raymond, Jonatan Berggren) that forces them to stay on the roster with Detroit.
Another takeaway is that the Red Wings are finally moving toward the right side of the rebuild. The anticipation continues to build with the younger players and it’s getting closer to seeing them (hopefully) in Detroit. Moritz Seider should see a lot of time this season.
But one more thought–now we see what Jeff Blashill can do. The veterans he played in the past are being rotated out and now the development and ice time will go to those younger players. We’ll begin to see exactly what direction Blashill can take this team.
Regardless, Yzerman continues to take Detroit forward.