Born: August 6, 1994
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Height/Weight: 6’2” , 188 lb
Contract: RFA in 2018-2019
Games Played: 71
Andreas Athanasiou emerged as “the new hotness” in 2016-2017. His speed, and electrifying skill kept so many of us on the edge of our seats every game. Expectations were high for the 23-year-old.. But expectations weren’t met in his second full NHL season.
Coaching drew a lot of criticism for their usage of Athanasiou — Some games he would see a 15+ minutes, and other games it seemed like we never saw him. At one point last season, Athanasiou was looked at as a cornerstone player who could help right the ship... But after an offseason of uncertainty, and rumors of going to Russia to get his money, I think a lot of people were left with a bad taste in their mouth.
What He Did vs. Expectations
Here’s what John had to say about Athanasiou in our preview before this season... Keep in mind, AA wasn’t signed at that point:
If he decides to stay and play in the NHL, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Athanasiou could be a 20 goal scorer for the Wings next season. If Holland’s master plan falls apart next year, and many think it will, the Wings should allow younger players, like Athanasiou, to have a more prominent role on the roster. The speedy-center has proven that he can score goals in a thrilling fashion, something Detroit as a whole wasn’t very good at in 2016-17 for the most part.
Setting the contract issues aside, Athanasiou fell short of expectations this season. He still showed flashes of his shifty, speedy, creative self, but it seemed to me that the fire wasn’t as hot as it was before. When we look at the underlying numbers, AA is still an effective player.
+13 individual penalties drawn
.89% relative corsi-for percentage
(Stats at 5v5, via corsica)
Good, but probably not enough to get him a long-term position on a team with so much uncertainty.
Final Grade: C
I had high, high hopes for Athanasiou going into this season, as I did for most of our young players. He fell well-short of what I wanted to see after a hold-out on the contract front. With an impending contract negotiation coming, I think the team will qualify him, then offer a bridge deal. Will Athanasiou accept those terms? I don’t have much confidence in it, but at only 23 years old, there’s still a lot left ahead of him. He's got incredible skill — the kind that can change a game at any point. I’d like to keep him here long-term, but I need to see more.
How would you grade Athanasiou this season?
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