DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings and left winger Andreas Athanasiou have agreed in principle on a one-year contract reportedly worth $1.387 million.
The Red Wings confirm the deal was made this afternoon, and TSN reported the contract was worth $1.387 million. General Manager Ken Holland spoke with media prior to Friday night’s game against the Washington Capitals about the move, and said it was important to get Athanasiou back in Detroit with an anticipated larger role this year.
“We see him as a top-nine forward who is going to be on a power-play unit and a penalty-kill unit,” Holland said during the press conference. “I can’t tell you how many minutes that is, but we see him as having a bigger role than last year.”
Athanasiou, 23, skated in 64 games with the Red Wings during the 2016-17 campaign and finished ninth on the team with 29 points (18-11-29). His 18 goals ranked second on the club.
NHL.com is reporting that Athanasiou is still in Switzerland — where he has been skating with a club — and it could be at least a week before he returns to the Red Wings’ lineup. He reportedly will need a work visa, to pass his physical, and to return to practice before seeing any ice time for Detroit.
Holland wasn’t sure how quickly Athanasiou would be up to speed and ready to contribute, but did point out that he probably won’t need to go to Grand Rapids once he passes his physical and gets a work visa.
“Let’s go through the process, let’s get him to North America,” Holland said. “You’re two weeks ahead of me. Let’s get him to North America, let’s get his immigration status, let’s pass a physical then let me talk to him.”
Holland added that it won’t be until Monday that they’ll apply for a work visa and he is not sure how long that process will take.
Athanasiou missed the first seven games of the season as he considered playing for an European or Kontinental Hockey League club instead of returning to the Red Wings.