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Andreas Athanasiou Signs 1-Year Extension With Kings

The Los Angeles Kings announced on Thursday afternoon that they have agreed on a one-year contract extension with forward Andreas Athanasiou that will carry a cap hit of $2.7 million.

The speedy 26-year-old winger had a solid first season with the Kings in 2020-21, scoring 10 goals and 23 points in 47 games. With this signing, general manager Rob Blake will be hoping that the Athanasiou of old can come back, as this is a player who in 2018-19 scored 30 goals as a member of the Detroit Red Wings.

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For Athanasiou, there has never been any questions towards his skill. At times in Detroit, there were rumors that his attitude wasn’t always great, and some wondered about his desire to become great. These questions were magnified just one season after his 30 goal output, as in 46 games during the 2019-20 campaign he had a shockingly bad plus/minus of minus45.

His horrendous start to the season led to a trade to the Edmonton Oilers, which was somewhat surprising given that not long before he had been regarded as one of the key pieces to the future of the Red Wings. Still, the Oilers and his former general manager Ken Holland were quite interested in him, proven by the fact they traded Sam Gagner along with two second-round picks to acquire his services. Yet again however, he was quite unimpressive and the Oilers chose not to qualify him that very next offseason, making him a free agent.

That led him to where he is now, as he signed a one-year, $1.2 million deal with the Kings last offseason. Though he cooled off somewhat after a very hot start to the 2020-21 campaign, he still clearly impressed management enough to earn an extension. What will be interesting to see is how they view Athanasiou going forward. This is a team that has the best prospect pool in the entire league and should be fantastic in the next couple of seasons. Do they see him as a part of that, or is his signing just allowing their prospects not to be rushed and develop for one more year in the AHL? Perhaps it is completely dependent on how the 2021-22 season plays out for him.

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