Looking to add some more offense to their lineup, the LA Kings are taking a chance on a former 30-goal scorer with some wheels.
With the start of the regular season nearing, transactions around the NHL are beginning to pick up again after a lengthy period of inaction. On Monday, the LA Kings made an addition of their own.
The team has reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with unrestricted free agent forward Andres Athanasiou.
There’s a lot to like about Athanasiou. He’s big, very fast, and just two seasons ago scored 30 goals and 54 points for the Detroit Red Wings. He’s also only 26 years old.
However, last season was a difficult one for Athanasiou. He scored just 11 goals and 26 points while infamously posting a league-worst minus-46 rating in 55 games with the Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers.
After a trade deadline deal to Edmonton, he scored just one goal and one assist in 13 regular season and playoff games for the Oilers.
Edmonton general manager Ken Holland drafted Athanasiou in Detroit and gave up two second round picks to acquire him, but the Oilers were so unimpressed with Athanasiou that they quickly cut their losses and didn’t make him a qualifying offer after the season, allowing him to become a UFA.
In the span of a year Athanasiou went from looking like a potential core piece in Detroit to struggling to generate any interest on the open market. He’s far from a perfect player. He’s not good defensively and his faceoff struggles make him better suited for the wing. He needs to be producing offensively to provide value.
Still, there’s enough here to make this a very intriguing reclamation project for LA. This is the kind of chance a rebuilding team like the Kings should be taking.
Given the contract, there’s a lot more upside than risk.