By: Will Burchfield
Few players hold more value to the Red Wings than Andreas Athanasiou.
They might be without him this season.
Per a report from 1130 Sports in Vancouver, Athanasiou is weighing a one-year offer to play in the KHL. The restricted free agent is apparently unhappy with his contract talks with the Wings.
Athanasiou, 23, is one of Detroit’s most exciting young players. He tallied 18 goals in 64 games last season and has a knack for making the most of his ice time. He’s a terrific skater in a league that continues to get faster.
Per MLive, Athanasiou and the Wings have had a number of discussions regarding a new deal. He’s coming off his entry-level contract, which paid him $628,333 last season, and isn’t eligible for arbitration. This leaves him with little leverage, which could explain why he’s considering an offer from a KHL team.
If Anathasiou indeed signs in the KHL, the Wings will retain his rights if and when he returns to the NHL.
Detroit is currently about $2.5 million over the $75 million salary cap. The team will get some relief by placing Johan Franzen on long-term injured reserve at the start of the season, but GM Ken Holland still expects the payroll to come in over the cap, according to MLive.
The Wings handed Tomas Tatar a four-year deal worth $5.3 million annually and signed Trevor Daley to a three-year deal worth $3.1 million annually earlier this offseason.