The New York Islanders were one of a handful of teams to express interest in UFA winger Andreas Athanasiou.
After not receiving a qualifying offer from the Edmonton Oilers, 26-year-old Andreas Athanasiou became an unrestricted free agent this offseason. According to the Fourth Period, the New York Islanders were one of the teams who “expressed interest” in the winger this offseason.
The Oilers acquired Athanasiou at the 2020 trade deadline from the Detroit Red Wings – as well as Ryan Kuffner – for Sam Gagner, a 2020 second-round pick, and a 2021 second-round pick. But with the Oilers near the salary cap and with Athanasiou requiring a $3 million qualifying offer, Oilers GM Ken Holland decided to pass on the winger.
Now, he’s Athanasiou is one of a number of guys who are still looking for a team less than a month before the season starts.
Former 30 Goal Scorer
Why the Islanders might have an interest in Athanasiou is clear. In 2018-19, Athanasiou scored 30 goals playing primarily* with guys like Luke Glendening and Frans Nielsen. The former fourth-round pick could be exactly the type of goal scorer the Isles are looking for in the middle six of their lineup.
This year, Athanasiou was less than his former 30-goal self though. In 55 games between the Edmonton Oilers and Detroit Red Wings, he scored eleven goals and 26 points. That’s about half the production he scored in 18-19. He played four playoff games with the Oilers registering seven shots, averaging 10:58 of ice-time, and no points.
This is certainly a big reason as to why he’s still available on the free-agent market.
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In a COVID economy with seemingly few takers, Athanasiou isn’t going to command what that $3 million hit the Oilers wanted to avoid. Look at what happened to Anthony Duclair. The former Ottawa Senators forward had a career year and signed a one-year deal worth $1.7 million with the Florida Panthers.
Would Athanasiou sign a one-year deal for something between $1 and $2 million? Probably.
How the Isles make that work is tricky, if at all possible. They’re already tight up against the cap and don’t have Mathew Barzal under contract or any of the depth signings we believe they’ve already agreed to (Matt Martin, Cory Schneider, and Andy Greene).