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Source Red Wings and Athanasiou closing in on new deal

Source Red Wings and Athanasiou closing in on new deal

The Red Wings and holdout free agent Andreas Athanasiou were nearing agreement on a new contract Friday, a source confirmed.

Athanasiou had until December 1 to sign with a club, the Red Wings leaving at least some time to spare.

Athanasiou is now skating with a Swiss team as he waits out the situation and is believed to have offers from the KHL. Agreeing to a one-year contract for the 2017-18 season, Athanasious will now return to the Red Wings after a very lengthy contract dispute that stretched into the start of the NHL's regular season.

The franchise has nearly no space under the salary cap, and a roster move is likely to make way for Athanasiou. This down period for the Red Wings is the result of unsuccessful drafting, poor contract management and underperforming from many players on the roster.

The Red Wings' negotiations Athanasiou's agent had been gridlocked for the entirety of the National Hockey League offseason. It's a one-year deal worth $1.387 million. Athanasiou only averaged 13:28 of ice time last season, but it's a safe bet that he'll see much more rink run after he and his agent took so much time during the offseason reminding team brass just how valuable he is to the Original Six franchise.

Athanasiou scored 18 goals and added 11 assists in 64 games with the Red Wings last season. He finished second on the Red Wings in even strength goals (17) in 2016-17 and tallied a pair of overtime winners.

With a potential KHL contract on the table, Athanasiou bolted for Switzerland on October 7.

Athanasiou, who was a restricted free agent this summer, was seeking a two-year deal worth around $2.5 million per season.

Several members of the Red Wings organization were also reportedly present on the call, which was to explain the reasoning behind the one and two-year offers and where they see him fitting inside the organization.

McKenzie didn't mince words either when talking about the frustrations that both sides have been experiencing through this process.

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