If nothing else, Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland will fly, er, go the extra mile to try to settle things with RFA Andreas Athanasiou.
Holland flew to Toronto for a face-to-face meeting with Athanasiou on Saturday, according to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press.
St. James passes along some reasonably optimistic updates from Athanasiou’s camp and also reports that the two sides have discussed deals that would last either one or two years. (The two-year version would carry a $1.9 million cap hit, according to St. James. This would make some sense in that it would parallel what the Calgary Flames gave Sam Bennett.)
There’s clearly still some work to do, especially with the KHL leering as at least a minor threat, yet this seems to be fairly positive.
The overall picture for the Red Wings is gloomy heading into 2017-18, however, because of updates like these.
It’s good that Jeff Blashill isn’t too concerned about Niklas Kronwall, although you must wonder if there’s a hint of resignation in such an update.
Sad or at least halfway-negative updates may simply be a way of life for the Red Wings when it comes to the health of Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson.
Actually, one cannot help but wonder if the Kronwall and Athanasiou scenarios could even blend together.
What if, say, the Red Wings put Kronwall on LTIR, thus opening up some extra space to squeeze Athanasiou under the cap? Kronwall’s $4.75M cap hit runs for two more seasons, and the impression is that he’s legitimately not so healthy.
The counterpoints are pretty natural, especially if the Red Wings really aren’t accepting the likely reality that they’re not really a viable playoff team any longer. If they continue to fight that probability, then they’d want Kronwall to nurse a shaky defensive unit to a slightly higher level, even if it means dealing with him being in and out of the lineup for health reasons.
If nothing else, it would be refreshing to see the Red Wings apply some creative thinking to their many issues, as the status quo seems pretty glum at times.
At least there’s that shiny new arena …