This week, the Eastern Edge views Frans Nielsen and Andrew MacDonald to see how they rate so far in this young season.
Last week I watched a New York Islanders game where Frans Nielsen really showed me that he has some serious skill. Then later on in the week, I watched another Isles game where he wasn’t quite as noticeable. That said, let’s delve into the numbers and see what the crystal ball has in store for Nielsen’s fantasy-worthiness index.
Over the past two seasons, Nielsen has finished fourth in team scoring after John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Brad Boyes/P.A. Parenteau (a.k.a. JT’s other wingman). The 29-year-old Danish center scored at a 50 point pace last season, recording 29 points in 48 games. The year before that he finished with a career best 47 points and in 2010-11, he scored 44 points in 71 games, a 51 point pace.
This season, Nielsen is off to a fantastic start, recording points in six of eight games so far, while receiving the third most average time on ice (18:22) amongst forwards, after Tavares and Kyle Okposo. He is also playing on the top power play unit, garnering an average of 3:30 minutes per game. Three of his eight points have come with the man advantage.
Last year, Nielsen finished with the sixth most average power play time per game and the season before, he had the fifth most on the team. That resulted in his best campaign to date, scoring 15 of his 47 points via the power play.
Another indicator people like to use to forecast performance is shooting percentage. So far this season, Nielsen is shooting a career high 0.222. His career average is 0.096. He is also on course to surpass his career best in shots on goal of 156, with a 185 shot pace.
What about Michael Grabner’s two game suspension potentially affecting Nielsen? According to Frozen Pool, Nielsen has taken 74 per cent of his even-strength shifts with Josh Bailey and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Nielsen is owned in only 21 per cent of Yahoo! leagues.