Andreas Athanasiou, LA Kings

Photo Credit:

Free Agency starts with a bang as former LA Kings Andreas Athanasiou, Troy Stecher, and Olli Maatta have signed new contracts, ending their time in LA.

With the LA Kings turning their attention to becoming Stanley Cup contenders after exceeding expectations last season, they’ve already made one big splash by trading for Kevin Fiala. With that, the team couldn’t afford to bring every player back that helped the team reach the postseason for the first time in four seasons.

Signed for the 2020-21 season, Andreas Athanasiou was a low-risk/high-reward signing for the LA Kings. He appeared in 75 games for the black and silver potting 21 goals and 40 points over two seasons. Athanasiou was oft-injured for Los Angeles, but in the games he played, he showed flashes of brilliance. It’s interesting to note that he scored in his first game coming back after an injury or covid four times during the 2021-2022 season. Athanasiou has signed a one-year year, $3 million deal with the Chicago Blackhawks on the first day of free agency and will work to keep his scoring touch going in the Windy City.

Troy Stecher was acquired by the LA Kings at the deadline last season from Detroit for a seventh-round pick in the 2022 draft. Upon joining the Kings, Stecher provided depth during the postseason push and subsequent first-round series. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thought Stecher would stay in Los Angeles as he was just a rental, but his point-per-game pace in his four playoffs games gave the Kings some unexpected offense. Stecher was given a one-year, $1.25 million deal with the Arizona Coyotes as they begin their trudge through a rebuild.

Finally, Olli Maatta will be leaving a team that had hoped for better from him initially but came to find a place for the Finnish defender when all was said and done. Maatta, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins, came to the LA Kings to shore up the blue line during Todd McLellan‘s first season as head coach. He was slotted to play with Drew Doughty, but, unfortunately, he couldn’t establish himself on the top pair and was in and out of the lineup.

In the 2021-22 season, Maatta was a steady presence on the back end, allowing newcomers Jordan Spence and Sean Durzi to have great debut seasons with the LA Kings. This stable, stay-at-home mindset attracted an up-and-coming Detroit Red Wings team, who signed Matta to a one-year deal worth $2.25 million.

The Wings have recently acquired Ville Husso, Andrew Copp, and David Perron, so it may be a good fit for the veteran Maatta. Besides, who wouldn’t want a chance to play with the reigning Calder Trophy winner, Moritz Seider?

The LA Kings still need contracts for Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Mikey Anderson, Sean Durzi, and Gabriel Vilardi, all of whom were tendered qualifying offers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *