The Athletic’s Evan Sporer takes a “deep dive” into stats and video to discuss whether Andreas Athanasiou is better-used as a winger or center, and in case you didn’t see Athanasiou on the fourth line last night (and I sure didn’t as he was all but invisible), Sporer spends a tremendous amount of energy to come to a sensible conclusion:
By no means does playing him at center mean Athanasiou can’t get out on the rush, or use his speed to his advantage. Playing lower in the defensive zone that foot speed can be a tool, like on that sequence against the Bruins where he was able to apply puck support and get a clear. He certainly can apply pressure and take away time and space in that area of the ice, another beneficial skill.
But up to this point, what seems to be Athanasiou’s biggest strength is at the other end of the ice, and more specifically, his combination of speed and finishing ability.
It seems like he gets more opportunities to flex those muscles on the wing.
Continued (paywall), and Sporer’s analysis is worth your time…