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Andreas Athanasiou on the move?

Over at TSN, Frank Seravalli posted an article that looks at some of the contracts around the league that GMs are hoping to move this offseason. When it came to the Edmonton Oilers, it looks like Ken Holland is working the phones to see if he can recoup any of the assets he gave up at the deadline to acquire speedy winger, Andreas Athanasiou.

When it comes to disappointing trades and the Edmonton Oilers, there’s a seemingly neverending list of deals that have gone sideways for one reason or another, but there’s a lot more to it when you look at the deal that brought Andreas Athanasiou to town back in February. At the time, most of us were excited about the trade, thinking that the former 30-goal man would provide the kind of scoring depth that could really make a difference around here. I mean, he had a chance to play with either Connor or Leon and how could that not be an incredibly landing spot for a guy with his wheels? Unfortunately, those dreams of excellence never came close to happening. Now, a mediocre 13-game showing combined with a flat cap as a result of COVID-19 could mean that Athanasiou’s run with the Oilers will come to an end about as quickly as it began, a product of poor play and circumstances outside of anyone’s control. So what does that mean for the Oilers? Well, it’s complicated.

From Seravalli’s piece:

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The Oilers are seeking to move Athanasiou before he is due a $3 million qualifying offer by Oct. 7 at 5 p.m. ET – a minimum price that Edmonton cannot afford to pay. Athanasiou is always intriguing because of both his speed and his 30-goal season, but he certainly didn’t produce for the Oilers in a limited 13-game showing (including a qualifying-series loss). Oilers GM Ken Holland is between a rock and a hard place on this one. Holland gave up two second-round picks for Athanasiou at the deadline. Now, teams are thinking he’ll let Athanasiou walk for nothing in the absence of a QO, limiting the return on a trade for his rights.

This morning, Tyler Yaremchuk also wrote about the Athanasiou situation in his weekly rumours roundup:

I don’t think the Oilers have any interest in bringing back the speedy winger at a cap hit north of $3 million, which is what his qualifying offer would be, and they obviously want to lose him for nothing in free agency. Could they sign a two-year deal for around $2 million? That would be possible, but I think we could see him get traded around the draft, before they even get to the qualifying offer deadline.

So what’s the best route here? I honestly have no idea. I mean, there’s no way that Holland is going to get back the pair of second-rounders that he gave up to acquire Athanasiou, making whatever return he does get another item in the reverse paperclip Hall of Fame, but how much does that matter in this specific instance? If you’re not going to qualify the guy at $3 million and he’s unwilling to sign a deal that’s much more in line with the 26 points he produced last season (I don’t know that this is the case either btw) then what is the alternative? You can’t just let him walk away for free, can you? Do you take him to arbitration? You have to get something done. Either way, I’m definitely not looking forward to seeing the 5th round pick (or whatever it ends up being) that comes back in exchange for a guy that was supposed to be an option to play in our middle-six for a lot longer than 13 games. The COVID conundrums just keep piling up, don’t they?

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ATHANASIOU’S NHL CAREER SO FAR

Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM +/- PGP 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 4 2
NHL Totals 303 84 72 156 117 9 1 1 2