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.