Frans Nielsen (born 24 April 1984) is a Danish former professional ice hockey Forward who played with the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings in the National Hockey League (NHL). Nielsen was the first Danish citizen to play in the NHL.
24 April 1984|
|Height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Weight||180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)|
Herning Blue Fox|
New York Islanders
Detroit Red Wings
87th overall, 2002|
New York Islanders
Nielsen was drafted by the New York Islanders in the third round, 87th overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. After playing in the Swedish Elitserien since 2001, Nielsen signed a two-year contract with the New York Islanders on 15 May 2006. He has also played for the Danish national team.
With over 216 games in the Elitserien, Nielsen recorded 25 goals and 34 assists for 59 points and 66 penalty minutes.
Nielsen started the 2006–07 AHL season with the Islanders' affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and was recalled to the Islanders on 5 January 2007. He made his NHL debut on 6 January. At the time of his recall, he had recorded a point in nine consecutive American Hockey League (AHL) games, which was three games shy of the Sound Tigers' club record.
During the 2010–11 NHL season, Nielsen scored a league-leading seven short-handed goals, including two penalty shot goals in three-on-five shorthanded situations. Near the end of the 2010–11 NHL season, Islanders' Captain Doug Weight was quoted as saying of Nielsen, "He’s our best all-around player even though his stats don’t necessarily show it". On 7 February 2012, Nielsen signed a four-year, $11 million contract with the Islanders.
Nielsen holds the distinction of being the most successful NHL player of all time in shootouts (i.e., scoring percentage among players with a substantial number of shootout attempts). He even scored a goal in a shootout before being credited with his first official NHL goal. His signature move in the competition has been dubbed the "Danish Backhand of Judgement", though he has also scored using his forehand. He ended his NHL career with a success rate of 46.23% (49 goals from 106 attempts).
On 25 October 2014, he recorded his first career NHL hat trick against Anders Lindbäck of the Dallas Stars by scoring all three goals in the third period.
On 1 July 2016, Nielsen signed as a free agent to a six-year, $31.5 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings, marking the end of his 10-year tenure with the Islanders. During the 2016–17 season Nielsen was selected to participate in the 2017 NHL All-Star Game.
In the following 2017–18 season, Nielsen scored his 47th shootout goal, making him the all-time leader in shootout goals. The goal came against the New York Rangers in a 3–2 win on 29 December 2017.
At the conclusion of the 2020–21 season with the rebuilding Red Wings, having regressed offensively by adding just 1 goal and 6 points through 29 regular season games, Nielsen was bought-out from the remaining year of his $5.25 million annual salary on 19 August 2021, releasing him as a free agent.
Un-signed leading into the 2021–22 season, Nielsen signaled the conclusion of his NHL career by returning to Europe and agreeing to a one-year contract with German club, Eisbären Berlin of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), on 10 October 2021. In his last professional season, Nielsen was instrumental in providing veteran leadership to Berlin, posting 12 goals and 27 points through 33 regular season games. He added 7 points in 12 playoff games to help Eisbären Berlin defend and claim the DEL championship.
|Representing Team Europe|
|Canada Cup / World Cup|
Nielsen represented Denmark fourteen times at the senior level. In 2002, he made his senior debut when Denmark was promoted to the IIHF elite division.
Nielsen represented Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, where he recorded two assists in six games and won a silver medal.
Nielsen was part of the Danish roster to qualify for their first Olympic appearance in 2022 in Beijing, China. During the 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony, Nielsen, along with curler Madeleine Dupont, served as flag bearers for Denmark. Nielsen appeared in all five games at the tournament, posting two goals and 3 points in a 7th place finish for Denmark.
Nielsen retired from professional ice hockey after the Danish elimination from the 2022 IIHF World Championship, following a 1-7 defeat to Slovakia. In the tournament, Danes were eliminated despite collecting historic 12 points in the group stage.
Regular season and playoffsEdit
|1999–2000||Herning Blue Fox||DEN U20||36||18||16||34||6||—||—||—||—||—|
|2000–01||Herning Blue Fox||DEN||38||18||19||37||6||—||—||—||—||—|
|2006–07||New York Islanders||NHL||15||1||1||2||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2006–07||Bridgeport Sound Tigers||AHL||54||20||24||44||10||—||—||—||—||—|
|2007–08||New York Islanders||NHL||16||2||1||3||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2007–08||Bridgeport Sound Tigers||AHL||48||10||28||38||18||—||—||—||—||—|
|2008–09||New York Islanders||NHL||59||9||24||33||18||—||—||—||—||—|
|2009–10||New York Islanders||NHL||76||12||26||38||6||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||New York Islanders||NHL||71||13||31||44||38||—||—||—||—||—|
|2011–12||New York Islanders||NHL||82||17||30||47||6||—||—||—||—||—|
|2012–13||New York Islanders||NHL||48||6||23||29||12||6||0||2||2||0|
|2013–14||New York Islanders||NHL||80||25||33||58||8||—||—||—||—||—|
|2014–15||New York Islanders||NHL||78||14||29||43||12||7||1||1||2||0|
|2015–16||New York Islanders||NHL||81||20||32||52||12||11||3||3||6||2|
|2016–17||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||79||17||24||41||18||—||—||—||—||—|
|2017–18||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||79||16||17||33||14||—||—||—||—||—|
|2018–19||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||72||10||25||35||14||—||—||—||—||—|
|2019–20||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||60||4||5||9||8||—||—||—||—||—|
|2020–21||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||29||1||5||6||0||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and honoursEdit
|Rookie of the Year||2001|
|Champion (Herning Blue Fox)||2001|
|Champion (Eisbären Berlin)||2022|||
- ^ Grossman, Evan (2007). "When it comes to hockey, it's a small world". NHL.com. Archived from the original on 24 May 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2007.
- ^ "NYI Sign C Frans Nielsen". NHL.com. 16 May 2006. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- ^ "Frans Nielsen recalled by Islanders - Set to become first Daniard player to appear in an NHL game". Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Retrieved 24 February 2007.[dead link]
- ^ "Nielsen, Islanders agree on four-year extension". Edmonton Journal. 7 February 2012. Archived from the original on 17 August 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- ^ "Shootout career totals". National Hockey League. 2 May 2022. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
- ^ "Nielsen scores three in third to lift Islanders past Stars". Islanders.com. 25 October 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- ^ Wakiji, Dana (1 July 2016). "Nielsen, Wings agree to contract terms". Detroit Red Wings. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
- ^ Wakiji, Dana (29 January 2018). "Frans Nielsen thrilled with first All-Star experience". NHL.com. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- ^ a b "Nielsen nets shootout winner as Wings top Rangers". espn.co.uk. 30 December 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- ^ @NHL (30 December 2017). "All-time leader in shootout goals: Frans Nielsen (47) All-time leader in game-deciding goals: Frans Nielsen (21)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- ^ "Red Wings buyout Fran Nielsen contract". Detroit Free Press. 19 August 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
- ^ "Frans Nielsen signs with Berlin" (in German). Eisbären Berlin. 10 October 2021. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
- ^ "Nielsen and Niederberger leave the Polar Bears" (in German). Deutsche Eishockey Liga. 9 May 2022. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
- ^ TSN ca Staff (24 May 2022). "Nielsen officially retires after Denmark worlds exit - TSN.ca". TSN. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
- ^ "Ponížili nás, ale prehrať so Slovákmi nie je hanba, reagujú v Dánsku". sportnet.sme.sk (in Slovak). Retrieved 25 May 2022.
- ^ "Belin defend title in DEL" (in German). Deutsche Eishockey Liga. 4 May 2022. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
- Biographical information and career statistics from NHL.com, or Eliteprospects.com, or Eurohockey.com, or Hockey-Reference.com, or The Internet Hockey Database