Blackhawks’ Andreas Athanasiou thankful for stability with two-year contract


After playing each of the last three seasons on one-year contracts, Andreas Athanasiou finally landed a two-year deal this summer and enters this season — his second with the Blackhawks — with some much appreciated stability.

“It’s something [my] agent takes care of,” Athanasiou said. “I just hear what they say from both sides, and [what they said] was pretty smooth.

“Any deal you get is nice to have. It doesn’t matter if it’s a one-year, two-year or eight-year. Any year you get is an honor, and you’ve got to be appreciative.”

After scoring the overtime winner in the Hawks’ preseason opener Thursday, Athanasiou didn’t travel Saturday to Minnesota for the Hawks’ second preseason game.

Connor Bedard, Taylor Hall, Seth Jones and most of the Hawks’ other top players did not play, either. Tyler Johnson — one of the few upper-end players who did — tied the game with 63 seconds left and goalie Arvid Soderblom saved 29 of 32 shots, but the Hawks lost 3-2 in overtime.

For Athanasiou, his new $4.25 million salary-cap hit also represents the biggest contract of his career, up from $3 million last season and as low as $1.2 million in 2020-21. 

He earned that payday with his 20-goal, 40-point performance last season — his best since 2018-19 and the second-best of his career — but now he’ll have to prove he can repeat it.

Athanasiou’s inefficiency with scoring chances — despite how many chances his speed creates — has always capped his goal totals. However, he worked on his shot this offseason. So far, it looks like that training might have made a substantial difference.

“Something I work on every summer is using the shot,” he said. “I get in opportunities to get shots off, so if I have a better shot, I have a better opportunity [to score].”

Kurashev sits with wrist injury

Philipp Kurashev missed practice Saturday with an injured left wrist that he suffered Thursday, coach Luke Richardson said. By Saturday, though, Richardson said Kurashev was already feeling better.

Kurashev also missed the end of last season with a shoulder injury, but he said he had recovered just two weeks into the offseason and managed to follow a normal summer training schedule. His biggest issue was a visa delay that prevented him from traveling back from Switzerland to the U.S. until right before camp.

Prospect forward Samuel Savoie, meanwhile, was stretchered off during Thursday’s game with an apparent lower-body injury.


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