The Canucks are among the teams that have spoken to agent Darren Ferris regarding UFA winger Andreas Athanasiou, Ferris told TSN 1040 (audio link). However, talks didn’t go too far with Ferris suggesting that Vancouver’s preference is to add on their back end first.
The 26-year-old was non-tendered by Edmonton earlier this month as they felt a $3MM qualifying offer with arbitration rights was too steep for their liking. He’s coming off a tough season with just 11 goals and 15 assists in 55 games between the Oilers and Red Wings (who acquired two second-round picks and Sam Gagner for Athanasiou near the trade deadline) but he’s only a year removed from a 30-goal season which makes him one of the more intriguing buy-low targets available and there is an opening in Vancouver’s top six following the departure of Tyler Toffoli to Montreal.
More from the Western Conference:
- The Predators are involved in daily discussions with remaining restricted free agents Luke Kunin and Rem Pitlick, notes Brooks Bratten of their team website. Kunin was the centerpiece of the draft day trade that sent Nick Bonino to Minnesota and is coming off a 15-goal season while Pitlick had 36 points in 63 games with AHL Milwaukee. Neither player is eligible for salary arbitration and their qualifying offers will expire at 4:00 PM CST on Sunday.
- Blackhawks winger Zack Smith still hasn’t been cleared medically following his back surgery in March, relays Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times. At the time of the procedure, the recovery period was expected to be three-to-four months but it’s well past that now. His agent Allain Roy indicated that Smith is making slow progress so it’s still possible that he’ll be ready for next season. A speculative buyout candidate earlier this month, Chicago wasn’t able to go that route with Smith because of the injury.
- Still with the Blackhawks, it appears that it will be a while before a deal is done with center Dylan Strome. The restricted free agent doesn’t have arbitration rights and an offer sheet isn’t likely forthcoming so there’s no immediate rush. To that end, Scott Powers of The Athletic reports (subscription link) that there hasn’t been much discussion about a contract yet. The 23-year-old has 89 points in 116 regular season games with Chicago since being acquired from Arizona where he struggled to live up to his draft billing as the third-overall pick in 2015.