Player Reviews, #51, Frans Nielsen
By John Panarese
I’m sure it’s obvious that the summer is winding down and the player reviews are not exactly going according to how Gary and I would have desired. Unfortunately, I know work has tied up Gary significantly, and the summer has been pretty complicated for me as well. Thus, I must apologize to our readers for being unable to go through the entire roster and provide our subjective ratings or “grades” for each player.
At this point, I think we will be shifting towards preparing for the upcoming season. As Gary has indicated a few times, we would very much appreciate if there is anyone out there who’d be interested in assisting us in writing for the blog. Please write to,
if you would like to give us a hand.Frans Nielsen is one of the most underrated centers in the NHL. This might be a matter of opinion and, perhaps, quite a bit of bias, but I don’t think there are many folks who know the NHL inside and out who would disagree with this assertion. It has been amazing how Frans has developed so well under the radar, and how valuable a two-way player he has become for the Isles. Whether it be even strength, short-handed or on the power play, his speed, skill and choices have made him an asset in all areas of the game.
An injury caused him to miss some 11 games, and his presence was certainly missed. In the lineup, his 7 short-handed goals and incredible knack of tucking that back-hander in during the shootout were just a few of Nielsen’s contributions that make him such an important part of the team. His +13 rating is also a stat that is overlooked by many. When he and Michael Grabner found their amazing chemistry, which was only enhanced when Kyle Okposo returned to the lineup, the Isles found themselves having a truly potent and dynamic second line on the offense.
Nielsen played in 71 games. During those games, he totaled 13 goals and 31 assists for 44 points. Like Grabner, Frans frequently found himself breaking into the offensive zone alone, and combined with “Grabs”, they put up 13 shorties during the season. However, it was their defensive work that did not get the deserved credit. Frans was out there more often than not when the Islanders needed a defensive center and line on the ice, and he certainly got the job done.
I would have to give him an A minus for the season. About the only “down side” to his game would be the 13 goals. To me, he has the potential of being a 20 goal scorer in the NHL, and with his speed and skill, I don’t think this is an unrealistic notion.
I think that Frans Nielsen will only get better. I believe that the chemistry with Michael Grabner will surely make this season quite exciting and entertaining for us fans. Overall, I expect that Mr. Nielsen is only going to get better and will not be one of the best kept secrets for much longer.
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