According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, both the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks have shown interest in acquiring unsigned Detroit Red Wings RFA Andreas Athanasiou. The 23-year-old winger remains the last unsigned RFA in the NHL and in his latest 31 Thoughts article Friedman speculates that their could be more than money hindering a deal in Detroit.
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When it reaches this point, you wonder if there’s something besides financials affecting his decision, maybe usage or role. I think there are other teams interested (personal guesses include St. Louis and Vancouver), but I’m guessing they wait to see if Detroit will consider a trade rather than trying an offer sheet.
So, assuming this is true and both the Blues and Canucks are interested in acquiring Athanasiou, what’s a fair return? Given that the Wings are a cap-strapped team as it is, they likely couldn’t take a roster player in return. How about a draft pick? While Athanasiou is a promising player, he has yet to crack 30 points in the NHL, so anything more than a mid-round pick might be an overpayment? A fourth rounder? Third rounder? Would the Wings hold out for a second rounder or more? Time will tell.