Detroit Red Wings: Filling the Zetterberg Void

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 24: Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at the Air Canada Centre on March 24, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 24: Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at the Air Canada Centre on March 24, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings
(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Frans Nielsen /

Jeff Blashill has already stated Frans Nielsen will be slated to start the season as the Detroit Red Wings second line center.

Nielsen moved up the depth chart by Jeff Blashill to fill the second line void is such a “Blashill” type move.  It’s the safest move the Detroit Red Wings bench boss could make.  Nielsen now admitting; is the most reliable center on the club but has lost his offensive touch of late.

Young players, Michael Rasmussen and Filip Zadina were expected to learn from Henrik Zetterberg.  Frans Nielsen now is the forward these young players shall look towards for guidance throughout the season.  Expect one or both to flank Nielsen often this season.

Nielsen the veteran center, I could see as a leading candidate to dawn the third “A” (Alternate Captain) on his sweater this season for the Wings.  That doesn’t suggest he should be elevated from his third line center position which fits him so well.

Nielsen paid like a second line center, produced as a mid-ranged third center last season.  Nielsen recorded 33 total points.  Frans’ on the season totaled the lowest minutes per game of his career, playing an average of 15:50 per game.

Jeff Blashill will boost those minutes this season to around 19:00 per game, but should he?  Others who we will mention soon could be a better option to see the boost in minutes.  Nielsen should produce much better offensive numbers playing with scoring type wingers instead of the “grinding” type players he’s been with lately.

If I were Jeff Blashill I would hold Nielsen on the third line during five on five play, but play him in more “high” pressure situations.  Play him later in games that the Wings are ahead on the scoreboard.  Continue to play him on special teams, the penalty kill, and power play units.

Frans Nielsen will see a “Blashill” boost. We feel he should see an increase just not quite as significant as Blashill will grant.  Frans Nielsen in a perfect world should play around 17:30 minutes a game, this up and coming season.