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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW(FE): What’s your plan for Andreas Athanasiou?

Another sportless week is behind us and all that’s left to do while we wait for life to start up again is to plan for what’s to come. In this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday (Friday Edition), I want to ask everybody what they’d like to see happen with the newly acquired Andreas Athanasiou? The sample size is small, the potential is high, but what comes next for the former fourth-round pick from 2012 is up to you.

If you look at the comments section from the day Athanasiou was acquired, a lot of us were pumped that Ken Holland was able to pick up a player with the potential to fit in the top-six for only a pair of second round picks, but in the weeks that followed, the shine started to wear off of a little bit. After picking up a goal and an assist in his first game with his new team, Athanasiou got banged up, fell into the bottom half of the roster, and was only just starting to play better when the season was shut down. As an RFA with the need for a new contract, both the organization and Athanasiou are in a weird spot when it comes to what that might look like because it’s hard to know what they’ve actually got in him.

Yesterday, Gregor wrote about what the Oilers’ lineup might look like for the 2020-21 season, including a breakdown of the pending RFAs and UFAs that are yet to be signed. When it came to Athanasiou, Gregor had this to say:

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Andreas Athanasiou is an RFA. He had a rough season scoring 10-14-24 with an ugly -45 in 46 games with the Red Wings, and produced 1-1-2 in nine games with Edmonton. He had seasons of 54, 33 and 29 points in the three previous years in Detroit. Today the 54-point campaign looks like a bit of an outlier. Can he score 30 goals again, or is he more of a 16-20 goal scorer?

He and his agent will say the former, while I’m sure Holland will lean towards the latter. For sure Athanasiou is not getting a raise, but I wonder if Holland can negotiate a slight decrease?

As an RFA, the Oilers will be able to hang on to Athanasiou’s rights provided they hit him with a qualifying offer on his current $3 million contract. For a guy that scored 30 goals two seasons ago, that price tag actually seemed like a bargain and something you’d re-sign him to in a heartbeat, but I can tell you that the same won’t be said about the 11 he got this past year. The problem, of course, is that we have no idea what the salary cap is going to look like for the 2020-21 season because of this pandemic and it could end up being tricky to fit everyone in under the bar. So what does that mean for Athanasiou? That’s where you come in. In today’s What Would You Do Wednesday (Friday edition), I’m asking you to put on your GM’s cap, pull out your calculator, and make the call on what you would do as it relates to Athanasiou?

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Maybe you think that Holland should qualify him and see what happens in a year from now? Maybe you’d like to try what Gregor suggested and negotiate a longer-term deal with a lower dollar value based on the struggles he had in 2019-20? Maybe you’d look to trade him entirely and recoup the assets spent to acquire him at the trade deadline? Maybe you’ve got an idea in that big ol’ brain of yours that I haven’t even thought of and your wizardry is going to blow us all away?

ATHANASIOU’S NHL CAREER SO FAR

Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2015-16 Detroit Red Wings NHL 37 9 5 14 5 1 5 1 1
2016-17 Detroit Red Wings NHL 64 18 11 29 28 -7
2017-18 Detroit Red Wings NHL 71 16 17 33 16 -15
2018-19 Detroit Red Wings NHL 76 30 24 54 38 -9
2019-20 Detroit Red Wings* NHL 46 10 14 24 26 -45
2019-20 Edmonton Oilers NHL 9 1 1 2 4 -1
NHL Totals 303 84 72 156 117 5 1 1