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Sports New Edmonton Oilers speedster Andreas Athanasiou may face delicate contract talks

12:17  25 may  2020
12:17  25 may  2020 Source:   edmontonjournal.com

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Andreas Athanasiou (F) and Ryan Kuffner (F). Red Wings received from Edmonton . Sam Gagner (F), 2020 second-round pick and 2021 second-round pick. We've all talked to him to try to get him to understand how he'll be successful but he doesn't want to listen." So it may be a bit of a project for

Andreas Athanasiou , Toronto, Ontario. 1.6K likes. Andreas is a 25 year old forward for the Edmonton Oilers . "Tony and Kate catch up with one of the newest Oilers players, Andreas Athanasiou , to discuss his crazy week after he was dealt from Detroit to Edmonton , his relationship with Ken Holland

a group of hockey players posing for a picture: Andreas Athanasiou #28 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Vegas Golden Knights in the second period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on February 26, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights defeated the Oilers 3-0. © Ethan Miller Andreas Athanasiou #28 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Vegas Golden Knights in the second period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on February 26, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights defeated the Oilers 3-0.

2019-20 Edmonton Oilers in review

Andreas Athanasiou

To modernize a horrible old expression by changing a single letter, there’s more than one way to spin a cat.

To wit, a case could be made that no Edmonton Oiler needed the 11 games that were remaining in the now-abandoned regular season in order to get his game together than Andreas Athanasiou. An equally compelling case could be made that no Oiler needs to turn the page faster on a disappointing campaign than that same player.

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Andreas Athanasiou , Toronto, Ontario. 1.6K likes. Andreas is a 25 year old forward for the Edmonton Oilers . "Tony and Kate catch up with one of the newest Oilers players, Andreas Athanasiou , to discuss his crazy week after he was dealt from Detroit to Edmonton , his relationship with Ken Holland

Steve Dangle discusses the recent moves made by the Edmonton Oilers which saw the team acquire both Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis to load up for the

Whichever way one chooses to spin the speedster’s regular season, it’s done. The high-profile trade deadline acquisition arrived in Edmonton three months ago with plenty to prove, and he made little progress in the scant 9 games that remained before COVID-19 shut things down.

Either way, it is clear that A.A. will need a strong playoff performance to salvage a poor regular season. An especially disappointing one after the 30-goal campaign he recorded in Detroit just one season prior. Of course if he’d continued at that rate he wouldn’t have been available at the deadline for a couple of second-round picks if at all, and his next extension would be a whole lot more expensive once the two-year, $3.0 million AAV contract he signed in 2018 expires after the playoffs. Instead, said renewal represents something of a conundrum for Ken Holland.

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Profile page for Edmonton Oilers player Andreas Athanasiou . Goals, videos, transfer history, matches, player ratings and much more Andreas Athanasiou statistics, career statistics and video highlights may be available on SofaScore for some of Andreas Athanasiou and Edmonton Oilers

Detroit reunites Andreas Athanasiou with Ken Holland in Edmonton . 2 second round pick to Detroit is the return.

This is a player Holland knows well, with a relationship dating all the way back to the 2012 NHL Draft when the Wings picked him up in the 4th round, 110th overall. Two more years of junior, a season and a half in Grand Rapids, and midway in the 2015-16 season he was deemed NHL-ready. He scored 9 goals in 37 games that half-season, doubled it to 18 in 64 the following year. He got a one-year bridge and produced 16 goals, showing enough to earn that pricier two-year ticket. That looked like a bargain when he broke out with 30 goals in Year 1, but things went sideways in 2019-20. Overall he averaged 23 goals and 20 assists per 82 GP in nearly 300 games as a Red Wing.

The initial hope if not expectation was the poor current season was part and parcel of a general malaise in Detroit, which iced one of the worst NHL teams in recent times. Given a fresh start on a team with some real offensive firepower, that latent offence would switch back on, right? Not so fast.

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The Edmonton Oilers forward group just got an injection of speed. With just hours remaining before the trade deadline, the Oilers swept in and acquired Andreas Athanasiou and Ryan Kuffner from the Detroit Red Wings for Sam Gagner, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick.

Official: Edmonton Oilers Sign Markus Niemelainen + Filip Berglund To Entry Level Contracts Initial Oilers Fan Reaction: Andreas Athanasiou to Edmonton Oilers | Per Gord Miller Andreas athanasiou trade to edmonton oilers for picks and gagner (red wings trade

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In our customary manner, we show just the player’s stats as an Oiler on the “player card” that accompanies each review.  Not much to see here in a positive sense, just 2 points, some pretty dodgy ice time and shot metrics, and a truly horrid average game grade of just 4.1, lowest of any Oiler all season. More on this in a bit.

Flesh out his 2019-20 stats to include his time with the Red Wings, and the picture doesn’t get any prettier. A little more ice time in the Motor City (16;32 per game), a lot less of it against elite opposition (26%), with similarly weak shot metrics (Shots For and Danger Fenwick For both a shade below 45%). For the two clubs combined, he posted mediocre boxcars of 55 GP, 11-15-26. To top it all off, a ghastly -46 plus/minus rating, making A.A. the reluctant winner of the annual Green Jacket for biggest minus in the entire NHL.

Thankfully he didn’t bleed goals against as an Oiler at anywhere near the rate he did in Detroit, where he was -45 in just 46 games. But it’s not like he turned many heads after his arrival, at least not beyond an impressive debut where he scored both of his points. He disappeared thereafter, trying to play through an unspecified injury and not getting a lot done. His mythical skating speed was just that, mythical, with precious few demonstrations of the afterburners which are his claim to fame.

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The latest stats, facts, news and notes on Andreas Athanasiou of the Edmonton Oilers . Andreas Athanasiou . #28, LW, Edmonton Oilers .

Few enough games as an Oiler that we can copy and paste his individual comments from our player grades to search for enlightenment.

  • at Anaheim: Made a good impression in his Oilers debut with a goal and an assist. Made a lovely pass through a defender’s skates and right on to the tape of Ennis for the first Edmonton tally, then scored the third himself when he went hard to the net front and was able to find the puck that had trickled through John Gibson and tap it home with just 4:35 left in regulation. Was a little too deferential on one play when hye twice had the puck in good shooting position but chose to pass it off both times. Grade = 7. [McCurdy]
  • at Vegas: AA was not near as noticeable as he was the night before in Anaheim. A shot (on a 2nd Period setup from Ennis) and 2 hits. Played just 11 minutes before leaving the game one shift into the 3rd Period on what was described as a “lower body injury”. Kind of par for the course for this injury-riddled club. Doesn’t “sound” serious but we’ll see. Grade = 4. [Leavins]
  • vs Winnipeg: An underwhelming home debut for his new team, which saw him produce 0 shots on net, chip in on 0 Grade A chances, and eventually play his way off the McDavid line. Not much damage defensively other than one weak backcheck. The one time he got his legs moving to join a McDavid rush he mishandled the puck and that was that. Grade = 4. [McCurdy]
  • at Nashville: Was principally at-fault on the 2-1 goal. Instead of making a nice, safe chip of the puck behind his own net the winger tried to instead beat his man. The rubber squibbed loose and was in front and in the net in a flash. His game evened out a bit after that. 3 shots in 12 minutes of work. -1. Grade = 4. [Leavins]
  • at Dallas: He’s not yet found his game as an Oiler. He charged out of the penalty box and got off a Grade B scoring chance shot to end the second period. He took a second penalty, an ill-advised trip, early in the third period, with Dallas scoring to tie the game. He flashed down the wing in the third for another Grade B scoring chance shot. Grade = 3.  [Staples]
  • at Chicago: Used his speed to make some room a few times, but was unable to do much with it. 0 shots on net. Did wire one outside shot off the crossbar, a wicked drive which gives hope for better days ahead. But the Oilers generated just 2 shots for, 7 against during his 13 even strength minutes. Got promoted to the McDavid line in the final frame but they couldn’t get untracked. Grade = 4. [McCurdy]
  • vs Columbus: A few moments here and there, but looked like a fish out of water on the checking line. Grade = 4. [McCurdy]
  • vs Vegas: Both he and Larsson headed for the puck carrier in the corner on the 2-2 when Klefbom and Sheahan were already there and with Jonathan Marchessault (of all people) alone in front. At the other end Athanasiou had 3 shots on net, tied for 2nd most on the club. Grade = 3. [Leavins]
  • vs Winnipeg: He got beat on a breakaway pass in the second but Mathieu Perreault missed the tip shot. He got his own dangerous tip shot on net later in the second. Grade = 4. [Staples]

There’s a depressing sameness to those comments, and especially to those grades. All were below average for every appearance but that first one. To choose one representative word from the collection, “underwhelming”.

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Still, there is plenty of offensive pedigree in the player if only he can rediscover it. He’s traditionally done most of his damage at 5v5, which will surely be the lion’s share of his responsibility as an Oiler. He posted 2.38 P/60 in that half-season debut, then stablilized just below 2.0 points per 60 minutes played. Until this season, that is.

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The rankings are among the 300+ NHL forwards with at least 600 minutes (500 in 2019-20). Athanasiou scored at a high second-line rate until the current season when the (winged) wheels came off and he was barely in third-line territory.

Fortunately, it now appears there will be an opportunity for Athanasiou to yet make an impact as a new Oiler. Playoffs aren’t exactly “just around the corner” but they are now in the plans. The players will have had several months to heal up and recharge their batteries. Perhaps the extended break will be a blessing in disguise for those who were struggling with their form for whatever reason. In the case of A.A., Oilers fans certainly hope so.

Contract

Among the many players we’ve examined previously in this mini-series on expiring contracts (UFA’s  Riley Sheahan, Mike Smith, Mike Green, Tyler Ennis, and RFA’s  Ethan Bear  and  Matt Benning ), it’s possible some might be signed during the weeks that remain before play resumes. I doubt that Andreas Athanasiou will be one of them, as both player and club turn their attention to the impending playoffs to establish his value. Which makes the following “best guess” a tad premature.

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A qualifying offer of a flat $3.0 million is required to keep the player, and that seems a reasonable starting point as a valuation of the former 30-goal scorer. A one-year deal seems likely, which would leave the Oilers with RFA rights next summer while giving the player a chance to improve his bargaining position going forward. He does have an impressive track record and there’s little chance that Edmonton would let him walk after spending two precious second-round picks to get him. I don’t expect a dramatic negotiation here, just a quiet extension for one season at similar cap hit.

Unless he goes all Fernando Pisani in the playoffs, that is.

Other RFA’s in brief

Bear, Benning, and Athanasiou are the only three RFA’s on the big-league roster, and we’ve already examined all three in detail. There are a handful of others in Bakersfield. I expect to see an extension for tweener William Lagesson , perhaps a one-way deal near NHL minimum. He will no longer be waiver-exempt next year and pencils in as a possible #7 D. Prospect forward Ryan Kuffne r, a former college free agent signed by Holland in Detroit who was acquired in the Athansiou deal, seems a likely returnee to Bakersfield on a two-way pact. Forwards Nolan Vesey and Cameron Hebig are in tough, as is Logan Day on the back end. Certain to exit are depth goalie Angus Redmond (a “contract” acquired in the Joel Persson trade) and the unfortunate Ryan Mantha , whose promising career was cut short by eye damage incurred just half a season into his three-year ELC.

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