NHL agent Darren Ferris joined TSN’s Moj & Rick to discuss this NHL offseason, some of his clients and the challenges agents, players and teams were facing with a flat salary cap. Among his clients is unrestricted free agent forward Andreas Athanasiou.
Before the segment opened, the hosts introduced the idea that there was buzz Athanasiou to Vancouver might be out there. Ferris confirmed he has spoken GM Jim Benning Athanasiou but right now, he believes they’re focused on a defenceman. In other words, if there’s interest there, it will need to wait until the Canucks have found their blueliner.
Athanasiou is an interesting case study of how the NHL has really changed in terms of signing free agents. Ferris said he knew the salary cap would be difficult and noted that the lower escrow was really hurting teams and the overall product because the dollars will rush younger prospects into the NHL. Athanasiou is not old but he wasn’t qualified by the Edmonton Oilers as an RFA at $3 million, which in any other year, the Oilers might not have hesitated to do.
The 26-year-old has not landed with a team since free agency opened and the expectation is that he’ll need to take a lot less than his qualifying offer would have been. He’s coming off a tough season with just 11 goals and 15 assists in 55 games between the Oilers and Red Wings so teams aren’t ready to take a risk that he’ll struggle again.
Athanasiou Could Be A Smart Gamble
Athansiou could be a win for a team who gets him on a bargain deal. He’s got a 30-goal season on his resume which means he could be a strong goal scorer in the right situation. Is that environment Vancouver?
They certainly have an opening in their top six with the loss of Tyler Toffoli to Montreal on a team-friendly deal for four seasons.
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