New York Islanders: 2017-2018 Five Restricted Free Agents To Target

By Tim Stevenson
CALGARY, AB - MARCH 27: Sam Bennett
CALGARY, AB - MARCH 27: Sam Bennett /
4 of 6
New York Islanders
DETROIT, MI – MARCH 12: Andreas Athanasiou /

Andreas Athanasiou

If Detroit goes to arbitration with Tomas Tatar they’ll end up paying between $4.1-5.3 million. That means the most they’ll be able to pay Andreas Athanasiou would be $2.13 million. So if New York offered the young center $2.5 million a year Detroit can’t outbid them. That means Andreas Athanasiou might be available.

Why The Isles Should Be Interested

Athanasiou is another example of the Red Wing scouting program pulling rabbits out of hats; he was drafted in the 4th round in 2012, 110th overall. 6-2, 192 lbs and only 22 years old, the young Canadian is a sweet stick handler and fast as a flash.

Last year was his first full season, he put up 18 goals, 11 assists in 64 games. Nothing mind blowing. But digging deeper you’ll see he had a shooting percentage of 15 percent! Since he only averaged 13:28 a game he actually scored an impressive 1.25 goals per 60 minutes played, 31st best in the league. Only Anders Lee did better for the Islanders.

This is a chance to steal a potentially elite player for next to nothing. There are a couple routes to choose from when offering Athanasiou a contract.

Contract Options

The first option is to sign him to a short bridge contract. Something like 2-3 years. This is the safer path as it gives the team time to watch the player develop a little further and determine if they want to keep him down the road.

More from Free Agency

The second choice is to gamble on the player and offer him a longer contract. If he continues to develop into a top-tier player then the Isles end up with a star for cheap; similar to how they’ve had Tavares. Based on Athanasiou’s potential to become an explosive offensive element this is the route I’d go for.

I’m thinking something in the neighborhood of 5 years, $11 million, but I’d go as far as 7 years $20 million. That’s cheap for NY, but too expensive for the Wings. If Athanasiou would rather sign a bridge deal I’d still be game.

The Isles could lock up a budding talent for some of his best years; and because of the price it’s a low risk gamble on their part, even if they go for a long term contract.

If the offer sheet went through the Islanders would have to pay Detroit a second round pick, which is no big deal since there are extras from the deal that sent Travis Hamonic to Calgary. This leaves the roster in tact while adding a talented center; plus plenty of room to re-sign de Haan and Pelech.

If Garth wanted he could put the squeeze on hockey town by offer-sheeting both Tatar and Athanasiou. That’d be entertaining, and NY would come out ahead no matter which player they got.