DETROIT >> When Steven Stamkos decided to return to Tampa Bay the Detroit Red Wings had to turn to Plan B.
That led them to Frans Nielsen.
Nielsen got a six-year deal at $31.5 million, an average of $5.25 million a season.
Nielsen, 32, was the two-way center the Wings were looking for in free agency.
He’s a left-handed shot.
In 81 games last season, Nielsen had 20 goals and 32 assists. He had a plus-1 rating with 12 penalty minutes while averaging 17:43 in ice time.
In 11 playoff games he had three goals, three assists and was a minus-3 in 21:42 of ice time.
For his career, Nielsen has 119 goals and 230 assists in 606 games. In 24 playoff games, he’s totaled four goals and six assists.
Nielsen is a good playmaker and can play on the power play and penalty kill.
Detroit had a ton of interest in Stamkos but was never given the chance to speak to him.
Stamkos, who took less money (eight-year deal worth $8.5 million a season), would have been the most coveted unrestricted free agent in some time had he hit the market at noon Friday.