Is it time for AA’s breakout year?

Sportsnet’s Rory Boylen picked six players who may break out during the 2018-19 season, and one of his picks is a Red Wings player:

Andreas Athanasiou, Detroit Red Wings

There is some speculation that the Red Wings could still trade Athanasiou before the start of next season as their group of forwards gets a little more crowded with the additions of Filip Zadina and Thomas Vanek. His explosive speed makes him exciting to watch and the offensive upside is still there — the question is whether Athanasiou’s defensive game will become strong enough that a coach can comfortably make him a top-six player.

In Athanasiou’s first two NHL seasons, his shooting percentages were 17 and 15, but that dropped to 9.4 in 2017-18 as he registered 16 goals. It’s fair to say that over a full season he should be at least a 20-goal scorer with the possibility for more.

Remember, too, that the 23-year-old missed training camp and the first 10 games in 2017 due to a contract dispute and that often leads to an underwhelming season. Now he’s locked in with a two-year, $6 million deal so should get off to a better start. On top of that, only three of his 33 points came on the power play despite averaging 1:44 PP minutes per game, so there could be an uptick there as well. The crux of Athanasiou’s breakout candidacy is in how much ice time the Red Wings (or an acquiring team) give him.

If his goals come up as expected, can his assists and ice time rise to a level that allows him to have a true breakout?

Continued, and I am also curious as to whether Athanasiou ends up playing consistent hockey for the Red Wings or another team.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Is it time for AA’s breakout year?”

  1. nobody else in the nhl with that combination of speed with powerful body , dmans worst nightmare is aa one on one going around the outside because if he gets a step he can then just bulldoze dman out of the way . the guys got huge upside in the right situation , plus thee excitement level he can create for fans in their building makes him extremely tradable as i believe many a gm covets him . and i would trade him because he doesnt fit the drw culture . but thing is i would NEVER trade him now because his stock is down , give him 3 months of top 6 minutes with larkin and mantha without any bitching from blash or the brass about hustle . then after hes got about 15 goals by mid january his stock goes thru the roof then trade him for a blue chip dman prospect in the ahl . mean time trade nyquist for a d prospect this summer so can get the cap to sign larks to a 8X7$ while stapling an A on his jersey this fall .

  2. AA is an absolute beast when he wants to play or is allowed to play the way he wants. If his attitude doesnt change he will remain a one dimensional player who only generates plays from the “cherry picker” position. Im really thinking he learned that or else why would he sign for 2 years here. Or he took easy money, guess we will see

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