While the Los Angeles Kings made some major additions in free agency, a slightly less notable move was the team re-signing forward Andreas Athanasiou to a one-year contract, with a $2.7 million cap hit.
Athanasiou is 27 years old and was originally signed by the Kings last offseason, after he didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Edmonton Oilers. In his first season with Los Angeles, the forward scored 10 goals and 23 points in 47 games, a pace of 17 goals and 40 points per 82 games.
In sticking with the Kings, Athanasiou should continue to act as a middle-six forward. While the team does have many depth forwards, they still lack a strong top-nine group overall and losing Athanasiou wasn’t going to help that. While it may not be overly likely that he stays with the team long-term, the Kings are clearly looking to get back to the playoffs as soon as possible and Athanasiou should provide some short-term help.
Given the Kings gave him another one-year contract, there’s very little risk in the deal as well. It does open the door for a possible extension or he could even potentially be flipped for assets at the deadline, should the team be outside the playoff picture once again. While the new deal provides a sizeable raise from the $1.2 million he was making last year, a $2.7 million cap hit is still reasonable and the Kings have cap space left over as well. The price on an extension for the forward wasn’t really as important as the term, anyways.
While it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see Athanasiou return to his 2018-19 pace of 32 goals and 58 points per 82 games, he’ll continue to provide stability for the middle of the team’s forward group. On a one-year contract, bringing back Athanasiou was the right move for the Kings.
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