Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland tried to get something in return and not let this go to waste, but it fell through on Tuesday night. Holland admitted that he attempted to move pending free agents Andreas Athanasiou and Matt Benning, but did not find any takers. Therefore, Holland has announced that both players will got unqualified and will not return to the Oilers’ lineup for the upcoming season.
“Didn’t work out anything, so they’ll be going unqualified.”
Holland admitted that he was looking to receive two second round picks back in a potential trade of Athanasiou, and while he took a chance to move him, things did not work out.
Athanasiou was acquired by the Oilers back at the trade deadline from the Detroit Red Wings for Sam Gagner and two second-round picks in 2020 and 2021. The Oilers clearly lost out on the trade, seeing that the Wings have re-sign Gagner since they ended the season.
In nine regular season games with the Oilers, Athanasiou put up two points, a goal and an assist, in nine games. He added zero points in four postseason games, as the Oilers lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the play-in round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It is easy to say that the Oilers were hoping Athanasiou could provide their forward core with some more scoring, but the 26-year-old never fit on the lineup and became a concern on the defensive end. We understand why Edmonton is not willing to make him a $3 million qualifying offer.
But maybe another team willing to give him $3 million a year, even if it’s on a one-year deal… Who knows?