NHL Rumor Mill – August 29, 2017
Updates on the Detroit Red Wings and the latest on Cody Franson in your NHL rumor mill.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports agent Darren Ferris, who represents Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou, said contract discussions with the club are ongoing but a deal isn’t imminent. He also said the KHL offer his client received remains on the table and he’s expecting a decision later this week.
Khan believes a two-year bridge deal between $1.5 – $2 million per season with the Wings is a possibility. Athanasiou is a restricted free agent who lacks arbitration rights and could be using the KHL offer as leverage in his talks with the Wings.
In a recent mailbag segment, Khan suggested former Wing and current unrestricted free agent forward Thomas Vanek could be an option on a one-year contract if Athanasiou bolts for the KHL. He notes the Wings will have to clear some salary-cap space “by trading or waiving a player, unless someone with a relatively substantial cap hit, besides Johan Franzen, has a long-term injury.”
Khan doesn’t see the Pittsburgh Penguins being interested in Wings center Frans Nielsen or Darren Helm, as they’re carrying too much money and term on their contracts. He also doubts the Wings will bring back unrestricted free agent center Drew Miller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Athanasiou heads to the KHL, the Wings could be forced to move fast to sign Vanek. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Vancouver Canucks are believed to have interest in the veteran winger.
The Wings’ salary-cap issues (they’re $3 million above the $75 million salary cap) are the reason why Athanasiou remains unsigned. It’ll be interesting to see what the young winger decides. If he does go to Russia, the Wings still retain his NHL rights, but they’ll miss his speed and his scoring potential this season.
UFA defenseman Cody Franson could possibly sign this week.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) August 28, 2017
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to which club Franson could sign with for the upcoming season. There was a report last month suggesting he could sign a professional tryout offer with the Chicago Blackhawks.