Back in December, the Detroit Red Wings that while they would keep important players in the fold as untouchables, they were still looking to pursue a rebuild to add to their younger players to create a roster that can bring a better future to Hockey Town. Around mid-December, NHL insider Bob McKeznie revealed important details on the Wings' approach to the trade deadline:
“When they do [open for business], everything that’s not nailed down will go. Now, Dylan Larkin is nailed down. He’s not going anywhere. He’s a fixture on that team," McKenzie explained back then.
“I don’t anticipate – it’s hard to know – we’ll get into the Henrik Zetterberg debate at some point, but with his contract and what have you and him being a seminal figure in Red Wing history, I don’t think that’s going to be something that necessarily happens.
“I don’t think he wants to trade Anthony Mantha or Andreas Athanasiou because they’re young players and they’re good players, and they’re maybe not as good on some nights as you’d want them to be on a consistent basis, but they’re part of what they’re building there.
“So then, after that, it’s pretty much wide open."
Ok, now scratch that. On Thursday, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press revealed a major change in plans when it comes to the Red Wings, and the trade deadline in just four days. She reminds us that general manager Ken Holland is open for business, after he started things off by trading goaltender Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for two conditional picks, and goes on to tell us who could be on the move come Monday.
And yes, one of Holland's promised untouchables has landed on the block. Here is what St. James tells us on Athanasiou, who finally signed a one-year deal on October 20, after moving to Europe and threatening to leave the NHL.
"Why he might be traded: Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Nashville saw Athanasiou score on a breakaway, battle down low to set up another goal and hit the net on another scoring chance. He’s a gifted skater with excellent hands. Inconsistency is a problem, though — he had just three assists in the 13 games prior to Tuesday, despite average 15 minutes, 30 seconds per game. He has too elite of a skill set to go for long stretches between standout performances.
"If a really good offer materializes, either now or in the summer, such as for a high-end defense prospect, he could be the ideal trade chip. Athanasiou is restricted at the end of the season, but he has arbitration rights and the Wings have the right to pick a one- or two-year deal, so it won’t get ugly like last summer when he held out to start the season."
Well… so much for the rebuild in Detroit... I guess Holland is only trusting Larkin and Mantha in that plan, though the latter was mentioned in recent seasons as a potential trade bait.
Now, we are pretty sure defenseman Mike Green will be moved by Monday, but let's just say our attention as now switched to Athanasiou as well...