Detroit — Andreas Athanasiou may have other options than simply re-signing with the Red Wings.
Athanasiou, the Red Wings’ restricted free-agent forward, is flirting with the idea of playing in Russia after receiving a contract offer from a team in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
The offer was confirmed by Athanasiou's agent Darren Ferris.
“Yes, we received a significant offer that is being considered,” said Ferris, responding to a request for comment from The Detroit News.
With little leverage in terms of the NHL, going to Russia and earning a significant sum of money for one season makes sense.
Athanasiou, 23, doesn't have much leverage — he doesn't have NHL arbitration rights yet — so the offer from the KHL is his lone leverage against the Red Wings.
The Red Wings and Athanasiou haven't been able to find common ground, and the situation is not being helped by the team being hamstrung as it is currently over the salary cap.
The NHL salary cap will be $75 million for the upcoming season — but the Red Wings are already at $77.5 million without Athanasiou unsigned.
The Red Wings will get some relief when Johan Franzen (concussion) goes on long-term injured reserve (approximately $3.95 million) but the team will remain tight against the ceiling attempting to sign Athanasiou.
The Red Wings would retain Athanasiou's rights if he were to leave for Russia, but return to the NHL.
General manager Ken Holland didn’t comment Wednesday but has consistently said the organization and Athanasiou are steadily talking and working toward a contract agreement.
Athanasiou earned $628,333 last season while scoring 18 goals with 11 assists in 64 games. He has 27 goals and 16 assists in 101 career games in the NHL.
Using comparable contracts around the league for a player with his service time and offensive production, Athanasiou is likely seeking close to $2 million per season with the Red Wings.
He might be able to get a better offer in Russia.