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Report: Red Wings and Jets linked in trade talks

An interesting swap. Who wins this deal?

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Flash back a year to the 2017 offseason and you may recall that Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland and forward Andreas Athanasiou were embroiled in a huge contractual standoff, one that nearly cost Athanasiou an entire season of development. The 22 year old speedster held out for a new deal into the beginning of the 2017-18 season and even threatened to bolt for the KHL for a season. In the end, Athanasiou and Holland came to terms on a one year, $1.4 million deal.

This offseason, Athanasiou surprisingly signed a two year, $6 million deal in the opening days of free agency, effectively ending any drama before it could even begin. But… of course, it’s not that easy to do away with drama when we’re talking about Athanasiou and the Wings. 

The young forward finds himself at the center of trade rumors yet again and this time he’s being linked to the Winnipeg b in a possible swap for pending free agent defenseman Tyler Myers.

In his latest mailbag column for Mlive.com, Red Wings insider Ansar Khan addressed this rumor and admitted that the team likely does have interest in Myers, but not at the expense of Athanasiou. At least, not unless Myers is willing to commit to Detroit.

From Khan's column:

Myers will be unrestricted after this season, so there’s no way they would trade Athanasiou for him unless Myers were signed to an extension beforehand. Myers is slated to be one of the top under-30 defensemen on the market in 2019, so the Red Wings would be more inclined to wait until then to make a pitch for him.

Having said that, Khan goes on to call Athanasiou the team’s “biggest trading chip” and we already know that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has linked the speedy winger to the Vancouver Canucks in trade talks. Regardless of who you believe when it comes to Athanasiou’s availability on the trade market, it’s hard not to think that there’s some truth to the rumors. 

Khan believes that the Red Wings will ride things out with Athanasiou, at least until they get a good indication of what they can expect from rookies Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen in 2018-19.

Again, from Khan:

I think they’re prepared to go into the season with Athanasiou. They need to see if Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen make the team and if they do what kind of impact they will have. They probably also want to give Athanasiou another opportunity to show he can be engaged on a more consistent basis. 

As for Myers, it’s likely that the Jets keep him around unless they can ship him out for a suitable replacement. The Jets are a strong team, especially on defense, and they’ll need all the talent they can muster to make another lengthy postseason run next spring.