Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland spoke on the contract negotiations between the team and restricted free agent Andreas Athanasiou earlier this week.
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Talking to Fox Sports Detroit ahead of the Red Wings' preseason game Monday, Holland said "I want him in the lineup.
"He's an important player for us not only today but going forward," he added.
Athanasiou is weighing the possibility of going to the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia this season.
Detroit reportedly offered the 23-year-old forward a two-year, $3.8 million contract during the offseason, but there were reports that the KHL was offering more.
"I can't negotiate against the KHL, it's a different league," Holland added.
"Andreas is evaluating the pros and cons of all the offers," Athanasiou's agent Darren Ferris told Ansar Khan of MLive. "Andreas loves Detroit and especially the Detroit fans but he has to really consider the seriou soffers from the KHL he has before him."
Athanasiou has not been with the Red Wings throughout training camp and the preseason, and the team opens the regular season on Thursday, Oct. 5.
"If Andreas decides that the KHL is the way he wants to go then that's the decision he has to make, and I don't think that there's anything that I can do or anyone can do if that's the decision he wants to make," Holland said.
Last season, he had 18 goals and 29 points in 64 games despite averaging only 13:28 on ice per game. His average time on ice was one of the lowest for players who regularly played with the Red Wings.