The rebuilding Detroit Red Wings are in serious danger of losing one of their only offensive threats.
A recent report revealed that Andreas Athanasiou was considering an offer from the KHL. According to a report from TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger earlier today, Athanasiou is indeed likely headed to Russia unless something changes in the offers he’s receiving from the Red Wings.
Andreas Athanasiou in ongoing discussions with KHL teams. Unless something shifts in Detroit, indications are Athanasiou will jump to KHL.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) September 5, 2017
Shortly after Dreger’s report, Athanasiou’s agent Darren Ferris confirmed the news, saying it was a “probability” that his client would be leaving for overseas, saying that “because of the huge disparity, the KHL has moved to more of a probability at this time.”
The offer Athansiou is receiving from the KHL is reportedly at least $1 million more than the offer he’s getting from Detroit, which was $1.9 million per year for two years. AK Bars Kazan is believed to be offering one year at $3 million.
Losing Athanasiou would be a profound loss for the Red Wings, who struggled greatly to consistently score goals even with him in the lineup. With 18 goals in 64 games, he was one of Detroit’s bright spots in a year that saw them miss the playoffs for the first time in 26 years. His lightning quick speed and creative hands have made him one of hockey’s exciting young players.
He’s not eligible for salary arbitration, and he just finished his entry level contract that saw him get paid $628,333 last season. Regardless of his potential leaving for the KHL, the team would still retain his rights if and when he returned to the NHL.
GM Ken Holland reported that he’s made “multiple good-faith offers” to Athanasiou based on players with similar stats. He also noted that despite continuing negotiations with Athanasiou and his agent, “the ball is in their court. They have a decision to make.”
During today’s ribbon cutting at the new Little Caesars Arena, Holland said that there was “nothing new” to report on the situation.
The Red Wings are currently $2.5 million over the $75 million salary cap, and still anticipate being over the cap even after placing forward Johan Franzen on long-term injured reserve. If the team is somehow able to get Athanasiou signed, they’d have to make an additional move to compensate.