When a player breaks their way into the league, most of the time when he performs well, he is given more time on ice and is able to grow as a player. Andreas Athanasiou is apparently the exception to that rule. Is he as good as others are saying? Will he live up to the ever growing hype? Did he deserve more ice time?
As you can see in his career as a Red Wing, he has performed quite well. In his rookie season, he fell just short of half a point per game. While his time with Grand Rapids has been fantastic too. His scoring pace his rookie year in Detroit is downright great. Most of his time was spent on the lower lines of the team as well, not with players that would showcase what he is as a player.
Nothing too out of the ordinary for Athanasiou here. He is slightly above average in his Corsi output, he isn’t breaking down doors but for a first year player in the league, he is doing well. His sample size is very small so we could see a large shift in either direction, time will tell the full story.
Once again, fairly pedestrian. Not a lot of time on ice will do that to you. He wasn’t given the most opportunities but at least he didn’t squander the opportunities he had. He should be seeing a significant increase next year and show what he can really do.
data courtesy of WarOnIce.com
Like every other category we have looked at, save for his scoring output, he has been decidedly average. That isn’t to say that AA isn’t exciting, that he shouldn’t be a player we are excited about. He is someone who captured a lot of hearts and minds in Red Wing land, it isn’t misplaced.
It would surprise me if the Red Wings didn’t have Athanasiou up at the beginning of the season. I would expect him to hold steady at the pace he set this past year and be right under a half a point per game pace. That could improve if they give him more ice time, as he averaged less than 10 minutes at even strength this past year. His rate scoring was some of the best in the league because of that. No one was efficient like AA, quite a rare breed. The real test will be whether or not, with an expanded role, if Athanasiou can keep up such a torrid pace.
An unexpected surprise this past year, anything Athanasiou was able to bring to the team is/was a positive. Helping out the bottom six in his time with the team was invaluable and may have contributed more than we realized to the Red Wings great end run.
The hype train is chugging along for Athanasiou and most of it is warranted. He added a spark to a team that desperately needed it. As he continues to shine down in Grand Rapids, the decision for him to start next year in Detroit gets easier and easier.