Andreas Athanasiou doesn’t always get the most ice time playing for the Detroit Red Wings, but he does tend to make the most of the ice time that he does get.
The speedy Athanasiou scored his 17th goal of the season tonight on a breakaway in overtime and delivered a victory for the Wings. His speed was on full display as he came on for a tired Dylan Larkin and looked like he was shot out of a cannon as he headed up the ice. After Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk attempted a bit of a poke check, Athanasiou made a quick move which left Dubnyk completely out of position. All the Red Wings young star had to do was slide the puck into an open net, and he did just that.
Athanasiou now has 27 points on the season, nearly doubling his output from last season. Despite his speed and success on the ice, it hasn’t always been easy for the youngster to get his fair share of ice time this season. Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill has been very strict on players like Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha, and even Dylan Larkin. His poor management of ice time has led many to question his future with the team, but that’s another story for another day.
Lack of ice time has never been a concern for Athanasiou. He has incredible speed on the ice and has a nice ability to find the back of the net, something Red Wings teammate and fellow speedster Darren Helm struggles with. As the Red Wings fully enter rebuild mode this offseason, fans might see a changing of the guards over the summer and into next season. Players like Athanasiou, Mantha, and Larkin will be held accountable for carrying this team forward. While some struggles might continue, it, fortunately, means we’ll have plenty more opportunities to see highlight reel goals such as Athanasiou’s overtime game winner tonight.