Longtime National Hockey League forward Frans Nielsen announced his retirement on Tuesday after Team Denmark played its last game at the 2022 IIHF World Championship.
Nielsen, 38, played his first 10 NHL seasons with the New York Islanders before spending his final five with the Detroit Red Wings. He initially indicated his intention to retire after the 2022 Worlds earlier this month.
In 925 career regular-season NHL games, Nielsen scored 167 goals and 473 points. He racked up 124 of those points (48 goals, 76 assists) in 319 games with the Red Wings from 2016 to 2021.
Nielsen represented Denmark on the international stage numerous times during his long career. He scored two goals and three points in five games with Team Denmark at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing; sporting an “A” on his chest, Nielsen went without a point in seven games with the Danes at the 2022 Worlds.
“It’s tough right now,” Nielsen said after Denmark’s 7–1 loss to Team Slovakia on Tuesday. “It’s all you know, it’s all you’ve done your whole life. It’s a weird feeling, but I know I took the right one and I’m looking forward to spending more time with the family and the kids, but it’s emotional right now.”
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 24, 2022
Team Denmark finished the preliminary round at the 2022 Worlds with the fifth-best record (four wins, three losses) in Group A.
After time expired in Tuesday’s game, Nielsen shared an embrace with Slovak forward Tomas Tatar (his former teammate with the Red Wings) in the handshake line.
— WingsNation (@TheWingsNation) May 24, 2022
Nielsen retires from hockey as the most productive Danish player in National Hockey League history.
He holds the NHL records for most goals (167), assists (306), points (473), and games played (925) by a Denmark-born player, although it wouldn’t be surprising to see Nikolaj Ehlers or Oliver Bjorkstrand challenge those marks in the future.
Although he never won the award, Nielsen received votes for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward every year from 2010 to 2016.
Nielsen signed a six-year, $31.5 million contract with the Red Wings in 2016. He played five years of the deal before it was bought out in 2021, topping out at 17 goals and 41 points in 79 games with Detroit in 2016–17.
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