Wings deal Athanasiou, Green to Oilers; Yzerman OK with Blashill
When he was the Red Wings’ GM, Ken Holland drafted Andreas Athanasiou and signed Mike Green as a free agent.
On Monday, Holland, now GM of the Edmonton Oilers, acquired both players again.
The Oilers obtained Athanasiou and Green from Detroit in separate trades leading up to Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.
Detroit sent Athanasiou and prospect Ryan Kuffner to Edmonton for second-round picks in 2021 and 2022, and 30-year-old center Sam Gagner, who is on an expiring contract.
Then, just hours after losing to Calgary at LCA Sunday night, the Wings completed the deal that sent defenseman Green to the Oilers for a conditional draft pick in 2020 or 2021 for center Kyle Brodziak, who announced in September he is forced to retire because of a back injury.
Both Athanasiou and Green were held out of Sunday night’s game.
The Red Wings will receive a fourth-round pick in 2020, unless the Oilers reach the Western Conference finals and Green plays in half of their games. In that case, Detroit will receive a third-rounder in 2021 instead.
“We were hoping to add picks, the highest picks we could,” said Detroit general manager Steve Yzerman during a media availability on Monday. “In general, I think we accomplished what we wanted. Did we do everything we wanted? Not necessarily. We looked to acquire another first-round pick; I wasn’t able to do that.
“We had other unrestricted free agents we would consider moving. Talking about the core of our team, we weren’t necessarily looking to do anything with them unless it was a real good return, and we didn’t really have any discussions on those players.”
Yzerman said that, despite Athanasiou’s struggles this season – 10 goals and 24 points in 46 games and a league-worst minus-45 in an injury-plagued campaign after scoring 30 goals in 2018-19 – he was not actively shopping the 25-year-old.
“We’re trying to rebuild the team, trying to add draft picks and prospects,” Yzerman said. “Everybody has a value; some players are more marketable than others. We have to go specifically to the players who are most in demand, and several teams had inquired and expressed interest in Andreas. This seemed like it could make sense for the Detroit Red Wings in the short term and in the future.”
Detroit drafted Athanasiou in the fourth round (112th overall) in 2012.
Though he has great speed and a goal-scoring touch, Athanasiou lacked focus and tenacity on the ice, particularly defensively, with the Red Wings.
Gagner has five goals and seven assists in 36 games, along with a minus-9 rating. He’s been a frequent healthy scratch. He’s in the final year of his contract at $3.15 million. Moving him enabled the Oilers to clear enough cap space to acquire Athanasiou.
Yzerman said Gagner will be a regular in the lineup.
“An added bonus from Sam Gagner (is) having another right shot in our forward lineup,” Yzerman said. “We only had Luke Glendening, so we’d like to get (Gagner) in there because it would help.”
Green, 34 and an offensive-minded right-shot defenseman, played parts of five seasons (303 games) with Detroit after signing as a free agent in 2015. He has three goals and eight assists and is minus-32 in 48 games this season.
The Red Wings retained half of Green’s salary ($2,687,500, ). Green waived his modified no-trade clause to enable the deal. The Calgary native is in the final year of his contract at a $3.375 million cap hit and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Yzerman still OK with Blashill
Despite the Red Wings having, by far, the NHL’s worst record, Yzerman has no plans to replace coach Jeff Blashill this season.
“I’m not going to make any decisions on anything until the season is over,” Yzerman said. “We’re going to sit down and go over it, but I think Jeff has done a good job. I’ve enjoyed working with him and as of right now, I don’t plan to make a change, so you read into that what you want.”
Detroit also claimed 23-year-old rookie left wing Dmytro Timashov off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. He has five goals and nine points in 39 games.