This summer hasn’t been kind to Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. After finishing outside of the Stanley Cup Playoff race for the first time in 25 years, Holland has found himself in difficult negotiations with free-agent forwards Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou. While Tatar’s brand new four-year, $21.2 million deal was finalized in late July, Athanasiou remains unsigned and the team currently sits $3 million over the NHL salary cap.
With reports last week that the 23-year-old forward has a one-year offer from the KHL in the $2.5-$3 million range, could he bolt to Russia? The Wings have reportedly only offered up a two-year deal at less than $2 million per season. That’s quite a gap. So, what’s his plan?
Helene St. James of The Detroit Free Press recently spoke with Athanasiou’s agent Darren Ferris to get some answers. “This is a very important decision for Andreas and he (is) taking the necessary time to consider this options,” said Ferris. “There is plenty of time before the season starts.”
Plenty of time must be a relative phrase because Red Wings training camp opens on Friday and preseason games start on Tuesday, September 19th. If the Wings want Athanasiou in their lineup and at the top of his game, they’d be smart to get the deal done as soon as possible and then use the extra time to free up some salary ahead of the regular season which begins October 5th.
Stay tuned, Wings fans. This saga could drag on a whole lot longer.