HSJ’s Mailbag: On Andreas Athanasiou’s room for improvement

While I was out at the dermatologist’s, the Free Press’s Helene St. James filed her weekly mailbag article, and she answered three questions, including a query about Andreas Athanasiou’s role and future with the Wings:

Is Athanasiou being moved a real consideration or is that just heresay? He improved point total even after sitting out and he didn’t have time to develop much chemistry last year. Is it really worth it to move on from him?

— Genco (@cmgencojr) May 15, 2018

HSJ: Andreas Athanasiou intrigues with his ability to accelerate and find ways to score, but he has limited trade value at this time. He had 16 goals and 17 assists for 33 points  in 71 games in 2017-18. He began the season holding out only to settle for a lesser contract than he could have had mid-summer. He had a .46 points-per-game average in 2017-18, compared to .45 PPG in 2016-17, even though he averaged 1 minute 51 seconds more in playing time per game. He went spans for 15 games and 13 games without scoring a goal, and that shouldn’t happen with someone so skilled.

It was a pretty damming indictment when, at locker clean-out day on April 10, head coach Jeff Blashill spoke about what he’d said to Athanasiou at their year-end meeting: “My message to AA was as a coach you have to know what you’re getting every single shift and the growth in him is going to be to learn to work and compete every shift. If I’m guessing whether or not he’s going to work and compete, it’s hard to keep putting him out there because I don’t know what I’m getting. So that consistency level and work ethic and compete is going to be critical for AA.”

Now, learning to be consistent is a common theme among young players who have a skill level that allowed them to dominate at lower levels of hockey, only to find out how much harder it is to stand out regularly in the NHL. Athanasiou has the potential to be a big part of the rebuild, either as an in-house scorer or trade bait, but first he’ll have to put up better numbers.

Published by

George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

8 thoughts on “HSJ’s Mailbag: On Andreas Athanasiou’s room for improvement”

  1. It really was interesting to see the evolution of AA this year and the general feeling of fans in response (at least the good folks that I had interactions with). And in general, people soured on him. That’s what I saw. It’s anecdotal.

    Time on ice increased, production stayed relatively stagnant. Shooting percentage corrected itself south.

    Saw comments about:
    1. AA looking “lost” and a general feeling that he doesn’t know exactly what to do, where to be during set offensive and defensive zone plays

    2. Of course off the rush, he does well. But also that he has just one move.

    3. Coach, the style of play, and shifting linemates and positions all hamper his ability.

    I think he is more often listed as trade bait now because of many of the negative feelings that have grown. In any case, if he were to sign an offer sheet, the signing team would owe the Wings a 2nd round pick if the salary is somewhere in the 2mil – 4mil range, iirc.

    1. AA will be a 40 point guy on a decent team. He needs a playmaker to get him the puck in stride. I doubt Detroit will get a real value for him in any kind of trade whether he is the center piece or a sweetener.

      Personally, I’ve never liked him. He’s similar to Jurko in that he’s all flash and little substance. His attitude has been a problem since Jrs.

      I’m old school in the way that I like players who are team first. I was probably spoiled on that by growing into hockey with Yzerman. Federov was the last player I enjoyed watching because of his flash….but then again, that guy could back it up with all his play.

          1. You could also just laugh it off like most of us do. Today I spelled Dobson as Dobsob. The B is right beside the N. Mistakes happen. Just thought it was kind of funny to see Gretzke, Federov, and Jurko. Chill out.

          2. “You could also just laugh it off like most of us do. Today I spelled Dobson as Dobsob. The B is right beside the N. Mistakes happen. Just thought it was kind of funny to see Gretzke, Federov, and Jurko. Chill out.”

            Wow. Hockey Talk. What fun, ehhhh 20%?

      1. I have that old school mentality, too. Most of us grew up on Stevie Y, the ultimate warrior and captain. It’s what a lot see in Larkin, Stevie Lite.

Comments are closed.