The Detroit Red Wings had a solid month of November and one reason was Andreas Athanasiou. Detroit’s speedy winger supplied seven goals and three assists for 10 points during the month. Athanasiou was hoping to have a breakout season in 2018-19 and so far, so good.
The young winger has always been full of potential. However, he hasn’t been given many opportunities to succeed. Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill is giving the 24-year-old more chances to shine. Athanasiou has a 63.9 offensive-zone starting percentage as of November 26th.
The young forward’s game thrives on offence and Blashill’s faith has been rewarded. Athanasiou has totalled 11 goals and seven assists for 18 points in 25 games this season. He’s well on his way to eclipsing his career-highs of 33 points and 17 assists. Athanasiou also has a good shot at besting his career-high 18-goal season in 2016-17.
Speed is his most known feature, but he’s been taking more shots. This has resulted in more power-play time for Athanasiou. He’s also been playing with more confidence this season.
Athanasiou has been part of a young but surprisingly competitive Detroit squad. Many had the Red Wings pegged to be one of the worst teams in the league. However, the Red Wings are proving to be a headache to any team that plays them.
Detroit sits sixth in the Atlantic Division but is only three points behind the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens going into Friday’s games. The Red Wings may eventually finish near the bottom of the conference, but there’s cause for optimism.
Four of the team’s top-five scorers are under the age of 30. Athanasiou sits third on the team in points and is tied with Dylan Larkin for the team-lead in goals. The team hasn’t even called up hot-shot prospect Filip Zadina to the big club.
There were rumours about Athanasiou being dealt as part of general manager Ken Holland’s massive rebuild. However, the Woodbridge, Ontario native has thrived this season. He’s figuring to be part of the long-term plan for the club.
He’s been worth that two-year, $6 million contract that he received in the off-season. Continued strong play will net him a hefty pay-raise and a mid to long-term contract.
Things are looking bright in Hockeytown and this team may be back in the post-season sooner than you think.
DETROIT, MI – JANUARY 16: Andreas Athanasiou #72 of the Detroit Red Wings looks to shoot against Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens at Joe Louis Arena on January 16, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
View the original article on Last Word On Hockey: Andreas Athanasiou Starting to Shine for Detroit Red Wings