NHL Rumor Mill – September 11, 2017
Latest on Drew Doughty, Andreas Athanasiou and Nikita Zadorov in your NHL rumor mill.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin reports Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty wants to continue winning Stanley Cup championships, whether it’s with the Kings or another club.
Doughty, who is two years away from unrestricted free agency, expressed his love of Los Angeles and playing for the Kings but left the door open to the possibility of his departure in 2019.
“I’d love to re-sign in L.A. But if our team isn’t going in the right direction…I want to win Cups. I don’t give a s— where I play. I just want to win Cups, and that’s the bottom line.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doughty’s comments are bound to raise some eyebrows and generate speculation over his future with the Kings. However, his remarks aren’t a guarantee that he’s a goner via trade or free agency within the next two years.
I don’t see Doughty going anywhere this season, but the Kings’ performance in 2017-18 could determine whether they fit into his long-term plans. If they’re outside the playoff picture again and management decides to rebuild, they could consider putting Doughty on the trade block next summer. He can be re-signed to a contract extension next July, making the former Norris Trophy winner a more enticing trade target.
Kings general manager Rob Blake faces a difficult task building up his current roster, in part because his predecessor left him with several aging veterans on lengthy, expensive contracts taking up valuable salary-cap space. Still, a lot can happen over the next couple of years and perhaps Blake can find a way to get this club back on track. If he does, and if he can free up some cap space, Doughty could stay put.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James recently reported Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou has had a one-year contract offer from KHL team AK Bars Kazan for over 10 days now but he’s yet to accept it. The deal is worth between $2.5-$3 million US. She suggests that could be good news for the cap-strapped Wings in their efforts to re-sign the restricted free agent.
“This is a very important decision for Andreas and he (is) taking the necessary time to consider this options,” Darren Ferris, Athanasiou’s agent, said in a text to the Free Press on Saturday. “There is plenty of time before the season starts.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With training camp opening later this week, Athanasiou’s decision could be coming soon.
BSN DENVER: Adrian Dater reports Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said he’s made what he considers a fair contract offer to restricted free agent defenseman Nikita Zadorov. Dater cites sources saying Zadorov seeks $2.5 million per season while the Avs aren’t going much past $2 million.With training camp approaching, Sakic expect he’ll continue discussions with the blueliner’s agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic is playing hardball with Zadorov, who lacks arbitration rights and has limited leverage. He could head to the KHL but he seems keen to remain in the NHL. If so, he’ll have little choice but to accept Sakic’s offer.