If you’re a Red Wings fan, you were probably scratching your head on opening night in Tampa Bay when Andreas Athanasiou wasn’t in the starting lineup. However, it wouldn’t be long until the speedy forward was penciled in the lineup vs. Florida just one game later.
Athanasiou, only 22 years of age, played 37 games last season and put together 9 goals and 4 assists. His speed and presence on the ice causes a lot of pressure for opposing defenseman, not to mention he has one laser of a shot. This kid is very good. Red Wings fans know it, Hockey fans in general know it, Blashill knows it, I myself know it, so I guess the main question that’s being asked is; how come this kid doesn’t get more ice time?
Last season (37 games played) Athanasiou only averaged 9:01 time on ice per night, and so far this season (5 games) he averages 10:54 of ice time per night. However, with the little amount of TOI this kid receives, he’s made the most of it by dazzling fans with his blistering speed and skill. Blashill when asked about why Andreas receives the amount of ice time he gets, he replied “When he left the American League (AHL) he was not yet an elite player, to all of a sudden think that he’s going to come here (NHL) and be an elite player, I think is asking a lot of him. What I’ve thought is that he’s been able to show flashes of elite, and that’s why we’ve used him in the minutes that we’ve used him.”
So with that being said, do you think Blashill has a good argument as to why he has had limited amount of ice time? Time will tell if Athanasiou will show his elite capabilities at the pro level, but for now, he’s stuck trying to prove himself with the slight amount of ice time he gets on a nightly basis.