McKenzie reported last week the Red Wings would only trade Athanasiou for a player of similar offensive skill who is at the same age or younger than him. The deal comes with a cap hit of $1.387 million after the Red Wings originally offered $1.25 million during the offseason and Athanasiou asked for $2.5 million from the team. He showed potential the season prior, netting nine goals and chipping in with five more helpers over 37 games, his first cup of coffee with the Red Wings. The Red Wings would be best served securing his spot on their roster, and the sooner, the better.
The Red Wings' negotiations Athanasiou's agent had been gridlocked for the entirety of the National Hockey League offseason.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet first reported a one-year deal is at hand.
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Athanasiou scored 18 goals and added 11 assists in 64 games with the Red Wings last season.
Athanasiou, who was a restricted free agent this summer, was seeking a two-year deal worth around $2.5 million per season. He finished second on the Red Wings in even strength goals (17) in 2016-17 and tallied a pair of overtime winners.
Due to Detroit's tight salary cap situation, the deal has not been officially announced because general manager Ken Holland needs to free up space in order to fit Athanasiou's contract. The team has gotten off to a 4-3 start following losses to the divisional rival Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning this week, and while the offense has looked decent thusfar, the explosive speed and playmaking abilities Athanasiou provided previous year would be a welcome presence.
McKenzie didn't mince words either when talking about the frustrations that both sides have been experiencing through this process. The contract, though more than doubled from his entry level deal, will act as a bridge for the Red Wings to get Athanasiou back in the fold.
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