Reports: Frans Nielsen to Sign with Lukko in Finland

Bruce Bennett - Getty Images

Divine center Frans Nielsen is the latest New York Islander to head to Europe during the NHL lockout. His brother Simon is one of Lukko's goalies.

Multiple reports have New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen agreeing to terms with Lukko Rauma in the SM-liiga (Finland) to play during the NHL lockout. Reliable TV2sport.dk (h/t Point Blank) has been on this -- in part because his home Danish club Herning would have liked to land him -- but ESPN's Katie Strang's source says Finland it is.

No, this isn't exactly significant news -- in a lockout, players will be players -- but it does add Nielsen to the list of European Islanders who are headed back home, or thereabouts, to play while the NHL locks them out.

So far that includes defensemen Mark Streit and Lubomir Visnovsky, forward Jesse Joensuu, and now Nielsen. Evgeni Nabokov was part of early KHL rumors, but no further word is forthcoming there.

Lukko has only won the Finnish championship once, in 1963. But one fun trivial fact about them is NHL Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson, who was well-traveled among the European leagues, played briefly for Lukko during the 1994 lockout.

Meanwhile, Nielsen would join his brother Simon, a goalie for Lukko, and no doubt the inherent powers of the Frans shall be used for good as he proselytizes about the glory of two-way hockey and proper backhand judgment among the Finns. I expect some "Saint Frans' letter to the Finns" any day now. Think of it as the apostle Frans, with his brother Peter who is called Simon.

(Okay really it's just Simon. But we're in a lockout here; work with me, people.)

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