Notable players have begun to be cut from training camps and placed on waivers as the season draws closer, under two weeks away now. Yet, two restricted free agents still have yet to even sign a new contract, nevertheless compete in camp. Columbus’ Josh Anderson and Detroit’s Andreas Athanasiou still remain unsigned long after agreements were reached in more difficult RFA cases like those of David Pastrnak and Sam Bennett. Not only do the pair still not have contracts for the coming year, but seemingly no progress has been made recently either.
After it was reported more than a week ago that there was a “vast gap” in negotiations between Anderson and the Blue Jackets, a recent update stated that “no progress” had been made since then either. The newest piece of information has Anderson traveling to Switzerland, where he could potentially meet with several NLA teams. Anderson has also spoken about the possibility of starring for Team Canada at the Olympics. Anderson scored 17 goals for Columbus last year, which would be quite a lot of production for a team chasing a division title to lose.
Athanasiou is beyond overseas speculation; he has several hard offers on the table from KHL clubs. While “talks continue” between the two sides, there has been no concrete news for days. The “Riley Sheahan-to-Pittsburgh” rumor, that is supposedly contingent on an agreement with Athanasiou, has obviously not happened either, as it has been all quiet from both the Red Wings and their talented, young player. Athanasiou scored 29 points in 64 games for the struggling Wings last year. Can a team lacking much game-breaking talent afford to lose such a player?
There are a lot of different ways that this could all end up. Either or both could simply sign with their current teams, whether it be in the coming weeks or early in the season like several 2016 cases. Either one could be traded to a team with greater need and greater ability to sign them to a deal that comes closer to their desired term and salary. Or, the nuclear option, both have expressed and interest (read: threatened) in going overseas and could pull the trigger if their team will not sign or trade them. Take a crack at the poll below and sort through a variety of endings to these RFA sagas: