Monday, February 24, 2020

NHL Trade Review: Oilers acquire Athanasiou



        The Edmonton Oilers have acquired forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Ryan Kuffner from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for forward Sam Gagner and second round picks in 2020 and 2021. The Oilers also retained 10 percent of Gagner's contract ($315k).

        The Red Wings are awful this year, and are already eliminated from playoff contention. Their rebuild is going to take longer than they anticipated. Athanasiou, a pending RFA, does not seem to be a part of their plans. He is in the middle of a down season, and while plus/minus isn't a great stat to determine defense, Athanasiou is currently a -45 player, and will likely finish among the league's worst in that category. At 25 he is not super young anymore. While he is still really fast, the rest of his game has fallen off, even after scoring 30 goals last year. Two second round picks and a roster player may seem like a high price for Athanasiou, but he will be an RFA, so the Oilers get to sign his next contract, and he has potential. Plus, he is one of the few NHL players that can catch up to Oilers superstar Connor McDavid. The Red Wings get back a bottom six veteran in Gagner. The sixth overall pick in 2007, Gagner has been a bust, but has played in the league for 13 years and is only 30 years old. The Red Wings signed Kuffner out of Princeton late last year. He made his NHL debut, but has spent this year in the AHL only, where he has struggled.

         Athanasiou, 25, has scored 10 goals with 14 assists for 24 points in 46 games for the Red Wings this year. In his NHL career, all in Detroit, Athanasiou has scored 83 goals with 71 assists for 154 points in 294 games.

         Kuffner, 23, has no points in 10 career NHL games, all for Detroit last year. In the AHL for the Grand Rapid Griffins this year Kuffner has scored six goals with three assists for nine points in 32 games.

         Gagner, 30, has scored five goals with seven assists for 12 points in 36 games this season. In his NHL career for the Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Arizona Coyotes and Philadelphia Flyers, Gagner has scored 163 goals with 295 assists for 458 points in 838 games.

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