NHL Rumor Mill – August 24, 2017
Latest on Andreas Athanasiou, David Pastrnak and Cody Franson in your NHL rumor mill.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton notes the recent reports of Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou getting a significant contract offer from a KHL team. The Wings want to re-sign the restricted free agent but currently sit above the salary cap by over $3 million.
They will get cap relief by placing sidelined forward Johan Franzen on long-term injury reserve but can only do that at the start of the season. It won’t free up sufficient room to re-sign Athanasiou.
Clinton examines general manager Ken Hollands options. One is to call Athanasiou’s bluff in hopes the winger is simply using this KHL offer as a negotiating tactic to garner a better deal from the Wings. Another is to trade a salaried player, such as Jonathan Ericsson or Darren Helm, to free up sufficient cap space, provided Holland can navigate past their no-trade clauses and find any takers for their roughly $4 million salaries. Holland could also trade Athanasiou, who could attract interest from rival clubs. That, however, is a move the Wings GM could be reluctant to make.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Wings GM Ken Holland recently said he expected to deal with his cap overage during preseason. Khan believes the delay in Athanasiou’s new contact isn’t cap concerns, but rather because they don’t want to exceed the figure they have in mind for the winger so as to not disrupt their salary structure.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Holland is betting Athanasiou will blink first in this stare down. The 23-year-old is coming off an entry-level deal so threatening to play overseas is the only real leverage he has with the cap-strapped Wings. I don’t believe the Wings GM seriously entertains the notion of trading the young winger, who could be seeking over $2 million annually on his next contract.
Trading Ericsson or Helm is easier said than done and I don’t see many teams willing to take on either guy right now. He could try to trade Riley Sheahan, who has a year remaining on his contract, lacks no-trade protection and has a more affordable $2 million cap hit. Another option could be demoting a player or two to clear sufficient room for Athanasiou once Franzen is placed on LTIR.
Starting to wonder if Kucherov-like bridge is most likely path to getting David Pastrnak signed. Draisaitl deal looms large in this one.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) August 22, 2017
Cody Franson agent says interest starting to pick up, should sign in next few weeks. #Canucks not interested.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) August 22, 2017