All these moves were made to give the Red Wings enough cap space to officially sign Athansiou.
Unfortunately for both sides, the one-year term likely means a future contract dispute could be in the cards if both sides fail to find common ground next offseason, especially if the Red Wings fail to clear significant cap space from their current roster prior to next offseason.
Athanasiou had until December 1 to sign with a club, the Red Wings leaving at least some time to spare.
The Red Wings' negotiations Athanasiou's agent had been gridlocked for the entirety of the National Hockey League offseason. "The Detroit Red Wings had offered Athanasiou a two-year deal at $1.9 million per year". MLive reported that Athanasiou had been contemplating offers to play in Russia's KHL since late August.
According to CapFriendly, the Red Wings have $0 in cap space with 22 players on their 23-man roster. Sproul, 24, played in 27 games with the Red Wings last season before suffering a knee injury that cut short his season.
Riley Sheahan struggled mightily previous year but being one of the younger players on the Red Wings still had a some trade value.
While skating with HC Lugano in Switzerland, Athanasiou was hopeful that a Red Wings reunion was possible.
In 2016-17, the London, Ontario-born Athanasiou scored 18 goals and 29 points in 64 games.