Could one of the Red Wings most explosive players make his way to the KHL?
It is late August and Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou, who is a restricted free agent, is still without a deal from the team, now he could take a deal to play in the KHL next season. On Tuesday it was reported by 1130 Sports in Vancouver that the 23 year old forward is considering a one year deal to play in Russia next season. His agent Danny Ferris confirmed that Athanasiou is considering the deal.
Two weeks ago Red Wings general manager Ken Holland stated that he has made a number of offers to Athanasiou, but were nowhere close to a deal.
If Athanasiou were to go play in the KHL, the Red Wings would retain his rights if he returned to the NHL. With this news coming out, it’s unclear if this is just a pressure move by Athanasiou’s agent to get a better deal out of Detroit or if Andreas is really considering taking a deal to play in Russia. If Athanasiou does indeed take the deal, that would only make the hot seat even hotter for Ken Holland. The mismanagement of certain young players has not helped his cause and with this looming over the team, Holland’s time could be up.
In the last two seasons Athanasiou has scored 27 goals and tilled 43 points in 101 games played for the Red Wings. This is on the limited Ice Time that he has received with the team (9:01 in 2015-16 season and 13:28 last season). Last season Athanasiou tilled 18 goals and 29 points in 64 games played. Again off limited ice time.
The big elephant in the room with the Red Wings right now is the cap space. The team is currently $2.5 million above the cap (Cap ceiling is $75 Million. Detroit’s cap is $77.5 Million) and would have to make a move in order to make an Athanasiou deal happen. The Franzen to LTIR move will not help as the team would still be placed over the cap with an Athanasiou deal. Ken Holland has placed himself and the team in a bind cap wise and will have to figure out something or risk losing their fastest and one of their more productive players.