Late on Tuesday, the New York Islanders officially announced the signing of forward Frans Nielsen to a new 4-year contract extension, reportedly worth $11 million, which works out to be a $2.75 million cap hit per season. Nielsen was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July, when his last 4-year deal expired, one that he signed back in 2008. Nielsen will be receiving a fair raise from his current $525,000 cap hit and this deal will officially lift him from potential trade deadline targets.
In the 2012 season, Nielsen has been hovering around average numbers for production, scoring 9 goals and 16 assists in 52 games for Long Island, just a shade under half a point-per-game, ranking him 201st overall in pool scoring, 148th among all forwards.
Nielsen isn't only relied upon for his offensive numbers, as he has been a reliable two-way forward for the team, as he has received recognition in Selke Trophy voting, finishing sixth, according to a report. The Islanders obviously feel that he brings much more to the table than his offensive numbers and he has become a valuable member of the team's rebuild.
The Islanders have all kinds of cap flexibility for the 2013 season, as they have a number of potential unrestricted free agents coming off the books on July 1st. In terms of regular players, the Islanders now have eight forwards, three defensemen and Rick DiPietro (I know, I know... but I have to include him in theory) on the books for a cap hit of $32.4 million. The Islanders have a number of prospects on their books, who are certain possibilities for their roster in October, but none of them are terribly significant, as of today.
Nielsen has been a worthy player of the draft pool this season and Brenda F. has had him on her team this year to some reasonable results. I would expect Nielsen to remain a reasonable drafted player going forward and if the Islanders could ever improve, Nielsen is the kind of guy that would benefit a lot from some more quality help.