The regular season is officially over and teams now out of the playoffs are sitting down and studying the possibility of making moves to improve their roster in hopes of being part of the postseason next spring. The Detroit Red Wings have missed out of the postseason for the second consecutive year, and general manager Ken Holland is on the lookout to improve many aspects of his team.
During a recent live chat, Ansar Khan of MLive.com was asked about the possibility of the Wings making an impactful trade for a top-tier defenseman. Sure, pending free agent Mike Green might return to the lineup next season, as Detroit was unable to move him at the trade deadline, like many expected, but the veteran defender definitely needs support on the blue line. On top of that, the Wings also need to improve their situation in between the pipes, as goalie Jimmy Howard cannot take on the full workload en route to a playoff berth. Khan was asked about the possibility of the Wings using winger Andreas Athanasiou as trade bait - along with a second-round draft pick - in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets for defenseman Jacob Trouba.
Now, nothing as of now points to the possibility of the Jets moving Trouba or if they’ll have any interest in Athanasiou, however, Khan wouldn’t be surprised if the Wings tried to trade the winger in the offseason or next season. We all remember how much of a mess it was last year to re-sign the winger.
"Athanasiou is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, which he lacked last summer, and is coming off a contract with a $1.387 million cap hit. If he doesn’t file, the team can file, and that would assure him of having a contract by early August. Getting him signed shouldn’t be a problem this year. He’s not going to play in Russia. That was a negotiating ploy by his agent," explained Khan.
However, Trouba was also part of a messy re-signing process with the Jets, who finally sign him to a two-year deal. However, Winnipeg knows the worth of the top blue liner, and assuming the Jets shop Trouba, it is likely to take more than Athanasiou and a second rounder to land him.
"I don’t know if the Jets will try to move Trouba or if they’d be interested in Athanasiou, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Red Wings looked to trade Athanasiou in the off-season or next season," added Khan.