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2015-16 Red Wings Player Grades: Andreas Athanasiou

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Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Player Profile

Andreas Athanasiou
Born: August 6th, 1994
Birthplace: London, ON
Shoots: Left
Contract Status: Signed through 2016-17. Cap Hit: $628,333

Season

Age

GP

G

A

PTS

ATOI

15-16

21

37

9

5

14

9.01


Season Narrative

Athanasiou's season narrative is simple. He provided a much needed spark to the Red Wings when he was in the lineup. We have seen him mainly on the fourth line with Luke Glendening and now former Wing Joakim Andersson. His speed is a key part of his game and his ability to use his speed to create chances is a treat for the future seasons to come. His narrative for 2016-17 will be why we didn't see more of him.

We are all aware of the end of season articles by the beat writers, where head coach Jeff Blashill stated he wasn't getting any more minutes or responsibility and based it in part on the concept that Athanasiou had yet to play at an elite level in the AHL and that being an indication he isn't ready to at the NHL level yet. Also how Blashill liked how he did so much with limited minutes.

What He Did vs. Expectations

Athanasiou's expectations keep growing and growing, and that's a good thing. He exceeded the expectations of him to the point where people want to see more of him. It is difficult to to really evaluate a young player that has limited minutes on the fourth line, especially when it appears like the player has the potential to do more.

His Corsi For percentage while averaging a little over nine minutes a game was 50.7% and when Athanasiou is on the ice the Red Wings had offensive zone faceoffs 64.2% of the time. His Corsi For was done with linemates the majority of his time on the ice that many felt should not be in the lineup and limited what Athanasiou could do.

How good can those possession numbers go with an increased role and better linemates? A question that many would love to see answered in 2016-17.

In the TSN Off-Season Game Plan: Detroit Red Wings Scott Cullen mentions that Athanasiou has "the best goals per 60 minutes among forwards to play at least 300 5-on-5 minutes" Obviously his sample size is much smaller then players that appeared in more games and played more minutes than him but it is encouraging regardless.

Final Grade - A

Athanasiou truly couldn't have done more with the icetime he was given. As admitted by Blashill and several of his teammates. The next step for Athanasiou is working hard this summer and putting Blashill and the Red Wings coaching staff in a position where after training camp and the preseason they have to seriously consider using him in a more meaningful role. Where we can speculate who he would do well playing with next season will be answered in a few weeks after the early July free agent bonanza.

Red Wings fans want Athanasiou to play a larger role in special teams and 5-on-5 play, at worst as a regular third liner with improved linemates and as someone if he continues to develop well can be swapped in on the second line with confidence when the need occurs