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Report: Andreas Athanasiou and Red Wings Close to a 1-Year Deal, Ending Contract Stalemate

Minnesota Wild v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

After months of tense back-and-forth dragging Red Wings fans through the reality of dealing with a league structure that unfairly limits the earnings of young players across the board and one player’s attempts to push back at such a structure, we finally look to have a break in the Andreas Athanasiou impasse:

Athanasiou’s one-year deal would leave him as a restricted free agent still and potentially dealing with a similar situation again, but the huge difference here is that AA will have played enough seasons to have earned arbitration rights under the current collective bargaining agreement. Most of the time, arbitration rights aren’t this big of a cudgel, but in a battle of a kid wanting to prove that he’s worth more and a team knowing he doesn’t have any effective leverage, the right of AA to file for arbitration and allow an impartial third party to force an equitable decision should prevent another contract holdout like this year.

After the deal is official, the Red Wings will have one day to find the cap space to fit this contract into their books before any trouble starts. Since the team is already using LTIR exemption space for their lineup, this is the likely play; although player movement would still be required. It’s possible that Danny DeKeyser, who has already been out since October 10th could be the start of the LTIR carousel to make space. DK will miss his 5th game tonight since blocking a shot against Dallas on October 10th. In order to qualify for LTIR, DeKeyser (who is slated to be out at least another week) would have to miss an additional five games and would be eligible to return to the lineup on November 3rd (a time period during which he would miss an additional six games).

There’s also still the possibility that the Wings have a secret trade partner in waiting here too. Either way, something has to move soon.

This story is devleoping, we will update with more news as it comes available.