Being in the thick of the offseason right now, there’s not a whole lot going on in Wings Nation. Or the NHL in general for that matter. At this point, Ken Holland has survived the expansion draft, guided the team through the entry draft, signed his UFAs, and almost locked up his RFAs. Signing Tomas Tatar to a 4-year, $21.2 million contract ($5.3 million AAV) in the midst of his arbitration hearing meant that he was halfway to locking up two important pieces.
The second piece is Andreas Athanasiou and Holland will have to work some cap magic to get him signed up. As we impatiently await the outcome of this situation, there are still some outstanding questions about Athanasiou’s game.
Do you consider the shortcomings in AA's game an actual concern, or merely growing pains that he needs to adapt to?
— The Wheelhouse (@Det_Wheelhouse) August 21, 2017
Before answering this question, I want to be clear about what Athanasiou’s shortcomings are. Per Jeff Blashill’s comments last year, AA is guilty of playing lazy, lacking on the defensive side of the ice, and not holding himself accountable. None of these things to me are an actual concern. Athanasiou is a young player who is learning to play the game at the next level. He’s got natural skill and where he’s lacking is in a part of the game that is learned through hard work and experience. He can adapt, but he needs good guidance and strong coaching to get him there. If he doesn’t buy in to the coaching staff’s path for him soon, he could be a lost cause. That being said, he’s got enough skill to be a regular middle-6 player in the NHL and Detroit should be worried that other teams will be coming after him.
I cheer for the Wings and Bills. Am I doomed to years of self loathing and misery? I hate sports.
— Brad Krysko WWP (@BradKrysko) August 21, 2017
Yes you are and I look forward to Ryan and Evan having to deal with it for my listening pleasure.
Ahhh shit. We wings fans are pretty damn lucky. Ya we got years of shit coming but fuck me it's been a good run , I gotta say I'm a proudfan
— Justin Mainprize (@JXPrize) August 21, 2017
Justin makes a good point. As fans, we’ve been very lucky for very long. It’s been a great run and I share his feeling of being a proud fan. Time to buckle down and stick with them through this rebuild.