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Abel to Yzerman

Edmonton/Detroit Related Talk

via Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal,

- 2-time Oilers F Sam Gagner has signed a 1-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings. I’m thrilled for Sam. He’s one of the good guys in the game and it’s great to see and his family rewarded with another contract. The announcement, however, shone a slightly different light on the deal that sent him to the Motor City from the Oilers at the NHL trade deadline. More on that situation in Edmonton in a minute…

- Whether Andreas Athanasiou remains a member of the Edmonton Oilers depends a lot on Andreas Athanasiou. Acquired by Ken Holland at the trade deadline, the player never did get into a groove over the remainder of the regular season. And the post-season for the Oilers was so short and disappointing it didn’t help clear things up much more. But the player is a valuable asset, if only because of what Ken Holland had to spend to get him. As such, the club would love for Athanasiou to agree to a short-term deal with a “show-me” AAV. A 1-year, $2m contract. It would be good for both player and club. It would create vital cap space that Holland desperately needs in the short term. But it would also give the player (with a full summer for him to get into proper, peak physical condition) a chance to enhance his value on a team that features 2 of the best Centers in the world. Seems like a hell of an opportunity, no? Would the player not relish that?

But while that may make a lot of sense to you (and it does to me, too) the one reason I’m not sure that gets done is because Darren Ferris is Athanasiou’s agent. Ferris has a reputation for being an especially fierce negotiator on his client’s behalf. And to be clear, I’m not trying to pick favorites here. After decades of players getting screwed by ownership it is good that guys like Ferris are looking out for them. But some agents are also more pragmatic than others. And that may not work in Edmonton’s favor.

To complicate matters, there’s a perception issue here which the Oilers surely must be aware of: After the Gagner re-signing in Detroit, the trade between the Oilers and Red Wings appears uneven. Detroit is sitting with the 2 picks Edmonton gave up along with Sam on the cheap ($850,000), for Athanasiou, Ryan Kuffner (an RFA but a career minor-leaguer) and 10% of Gagner’s 2019-20 salary.

Just remember, though: The trade was made long before anyone knew the extent of COVID-19. The only reason there is a cap decision that needs to be made on Athanasiou is because COVID led to the flat cap. That is not the GM’s fault. But…it is his problem.

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Why would AA take a show me deal for the GM who has been a constant roadblock for him?  And what does he have to show this GM?  And why would a GM have traded for him to begin with?  Show me?  To the guy whos seen his entire career?

Nope.  What they really want is for AA to fix the Slicks cap troubles.

Posted by ThatGuy on 09/27/20 at 12:49 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Did this dude really find it easier to type “the player” instead of Andreas, Athanasiou, AA?

Maybe he should have just written “number 32”  or “the guy who gives 70% every shift”

Posted by ilovehomers on 09/27/20 at 12:55 PM ET


The sunk cost fallacy - logically what Holland
probably unwisely spent in trade should not influence
what Holland does now.

And maybe Covid isn’t Holland’s fault, but he sure
knew how inconsistent Athanasiou can be and how
finicky in terms of role and success. And he sure knew who AA’s
agent is - he signed AA to RFA deals before, including one involving a
holdout. He gave Athanasiou 3M per year times two - before AA hit
thirty goals. And now he expects AA to take 2M times one, why?

Yeah AA had a lousy last season but Holland traded for him anyway.

Maybe AA will get squeezed by other teams in a sort of soft collusion
that helps out Holland. But this is a guy who has already scored 30 goals in a season. He’s not an unproven rookie or aged vet who looks washed up.
This is almost entirely Holland’s mess. If he believed in the player enough to sit NBC him to 3M on a multi year deal and trade two #2 picks for him, he shouldn’t make him the scapegoat for his own cap trouble. If you believe in the player find some savings elsewhere. It doesn’t have to be a big raise or huge commitment in term.

Posted by lefty.30 on 09/27/20 at 10:08 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

If only AA was playing on a team with talent.
If only AA was playing for a real coach.
If only….

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 09/28/20 at 09:06 AM ET


I love the Holland bashing here.  I mean, the man is not undeserving of criticism, but not sure here.  Totally in his realm of fair game.  He’s an RFA.  Holland has (if reports are to be believed) said, if you want to stay here, play with these guys, this is all I am going to give you.  If not, he’s not holding him hostage, go to another team.  Edmonton has cap concerns, and hey, what’s wrong with Holland putting this out there, all AA can say is no.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 09/28/20 at 10:00 AM ET


Not bashing Holland.

It’s just weird the position he’s put himself in.
Sure I imagine he was counting on a little more cap space.

But media who cover the team closely don’t seem to
appreciate his responsibility in this going back to the RFA deals he signed,
through acquiring the player for valuable picks after saying he was going to be patient and focus on building and maintaining a long-term winner.

He’s knew how inconsistent the player is.
He knew how hard nosed the agent is.
He knew he was acquiring a soon to be RFA.

I guess AA could decide to just not accept a 33% cut in his salary and leave.
But that’s a lot to expect from any player, not least one who topped 30 goals after signing for that amount - even in these difficult times cap-wise.
It’s an entirely self-created issue for Holland.

Posted by lefty.30 on 09/28/20 at 02:44 PM ET


Oh for sure Lefty… and not sure it’s a created issue, I think it’s just a failure of hope if anything.  There is no obligation to sign him just cause he made that trade.  It looks bad for sure, and was a costly mistake.. but I mean, it wasn’t impossible to think that in a new environment, inspired by playnig with that kind of talent, he would have matured, taken another step. Clearly he didn’t, albeit, there wasn’t a ton of time to show it….. but ya, I agree Lefty that it should at least be discussed what a costly risk it was.  I wouldn’t say it’s an outright mistake, it was a risky move that didn’t pay off.  We can discuss the likeliehood it had chance of success…maybe that is where the most stern discussion should be.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 09/29/20 at 10:00 AM ET


Holland really tends toward the players he knows and
the guys he’s had before.

Call it familiarity bias.

But the other side of it is, I’m sure, that if Holland
knows you and you aren’t a demonstrably horrible human being,
he’ll give you every benefit of the doubt. I can admire that.

And, except as it relates to the Wings and what Stevie Y and company
have to do to improve, I’m hoping Holland does well in Edmonton.
He did seem to bring some credibility with him to the Oilers and made
a number of smaller moves to solidify their roster. And the Lucic for Neal
trade was one of his more creative deals ever. Even if Lucic is doing better in
Calgary, Neal scored some goals (one short of upgrading the pick) and can be bought out if needed.

Posted by lefty.30 on 09/29/20 at 10:35 PM ET


Ya for sure, the familiarity bias is by far one of his most annoying features so to speak.  One could argue that the devil you know is a safer bet… but based on the track record the devils he knew were more often not helpful lol. 

Posted by DieByTheWing on 09/30/20 at 08:38 AM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com