Birthday: August, 6 1994
Birth Place: London, ON
Height/Weight: 6’2, 188 lbs
Drafted: 4th Round 110th overall in 2012
The Scoop on “AA”
When you talk about the Red Wings top 25 under 25 Andreas Athanasiou is near the top of that list. Believe it or not Athanasiou was second in goals (18) for the Detroit Red Wings last season. He played in 64 games and added 11 assists. His overall point total (29) was ranked ninth on the Wings three behind Dylan Larkin.
I am in the camp that goal and point total will go up if Athanasiou is given more of an opportunity. Along with the thinking of why not use him night in and night out as a top six player starting in the first game of the season. He also brings the speed and energy along with the fact that fans want to watch an electric player like Athanasiou every game.
A player that brings the speed and energy like him to light up the building and get other players going. It’s fun to watch and a fun type of hockey to play.
At the time this feature on Athanasiou is being written he still needs a new contract and it’s getting to crunch time for making that actually happen.
Take a look at Justin Abdelkader, even though he plays a different positions than Athanasiou, he also played in 64 games last season, scored seven goals along with 14 assists. When healthy he is someone always in the top six and someone we never hear the coaches or management complain about.
Compare that to Athanasiou, who’s not a lock in the top six, and any mistake no matter how small gets his ice time reduced/ gets him criticized by Jeff Blashill or Ken Holland in the media, which will eventually take a toll on a players confidence.
In the last 101 games, his career total Athanasiou has scored 27 goals. In the last 146 games Abdelkader has scored 26 goals. He has 45 more games played and top six minutes every night.
Those few stats, which is a very small reference point can help boost the Athanasiou camp’s thinking that he deserves a better contract than what has been offered. They also won’t sit well with fans of Athanasiou, many of whom struggle to understand why Blashill and his staff seem to be harder on him then most Wings players and yes this same sentence can be used for Anthony Mantha as well.
Expectations For Next Year
Athanasiou early on needs to play defensively and backcheck like the Wings want him to. He needs to take any and all critiques and show that he has worked and improved on them this offseason. This would force the coaching staff to use him on the second line each and every game. He really needs to show these improvements in the preseason games, as to not get an early strike against him.
The expectation would also include him scoring over 20 goals and provide a boost on the powerplay which struggled last season finishing ranked 27 out of 30. We all want to see what would happen if he played consistently with the Wings’ best players and a little more public support from the organization.
For a team that finished 26th out of 30 in goals last season and one of only seven teams to not score 200 or more goals last season, the opportunity is there for younger players like Athanasiou to break out and make it “their team.”
Last Season’s Goals
Youtube user “Awood40” has highlights of Athanasiou’s goals from last season which is a good watch to revist the energy and skill he brings to the lineup.