Andreas Athanasiou has been wildly inconsistent throughout his NHL career. After scoring 30 goals last season though, it looked like he was emerging as a key piece of the puzzle for the Red Wings. However, he has struggled considerably this season with just five goals in 28 games along with a league-worst -31 rating. To that end, MLive’s Ansar Khan suggests that GM Steve Yzerman could be reaching the point where he believes it’s time to move on from the winger. Athanasiou is one of several wingers that are slated to become restricted free agents and it’s likely that they’ll be seeking long-term pacts with Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. Given Athanasiou’s struggles though, it’s harder to envision them pursuing a long-term deal with him at this time. Of course, the timing for a trade isn’t ideal as they’d be selling low so if Yzerman does decide to move on, the offseason may be the better time to pull the trigger on a deal.
Elsewhere in the East:
- Rangers defenseman Libor Hajek will miss the next three to four weeks due to a knee sprain, the team announced (Twitter link). The injury occurred early in Thursday’s game against Columbus. The second-year pro has held down a regular spot on New York’s back end this season, playing in 27 games while averaging just over 16 minutes a night in playing time. The injury means that Marc Staal, who came off IR for Friday’s game, should have a regular spot in the lineup for at least the next few weeks.
- After sending down defenseman Erik Brannstrom earlier this week in an effort to get him more playing time, Senators head coach D.J. Smith acknowledged to Postmedia’s Ken Warren that center Logan Brown could be in a similar situation before too long. Brown played just 5:28 on Wednesday and was a healthy scratch a week ago and is poised to be on the fourth line for today’s game in Philadelphia. That low of ice time isn’t ideal from a development perspective so if it continues much longer, he’ll likely be heading back to AHL Belleville.