Losing Andreas Athanasiou to KHL Would Be A Massive Mistake

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 1: Andreas Athanasiou
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 1: Andreas Athanasiou /
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The latest rumblings surrounding Andreas Athanasiou’s RFA have been troubling.

Craig Custance of The Athletic has confirmed reports that Athanasiou has received an offer from a Kontinental Hockey League team, and is considering taking it due to no progression in contract talks.

The offer is said to be significant and for one year, according to the article. Ken Holland was quoted in an article two weeks ago with Mlive.com saying,

"“I made a number of offers; we continue to talk,” regarding the free agency issue with Athanasiou."

Athanasiou has been arguably the Red Wings most interesting player over the last two seasons. Someone who many fans have begged to get an increase in ice time since he’s come into the league.

Athanasiou is one of the few game breakers the Red Wings currently have and is easily the most explosive and dynamic of the small group. He’s similar to vintage Datsyuk in the fact that he can break out of your own zone by himself essentially whenever he pleases.

He has silky smooth hands to go with his incredible skating, something he’s used repeatedly over the last two seasons to score breakaway goal after breakaway goal.

So the question is why did he only put up 29 points last season?

Well first off, his lack of minutes certainly didn’t help. Athanasiou was 11th among forwards on the team in average ice time per game and ninth among forwards in average powerplay ice time per game.

The lack of powerplay minutes possibly isn’t the most egregious thing. Athanasiou isn’t a lethal passer and his speed can’t be utilized properly on the PP. But there is no excuse for the lack of minutes even strength.

Athanasiou finished 2nd on the team in even strength goals last season with 17 and was among some of the best in the NHL when it came to 5 on 5 individual primary points percentage.

While his Corsi for percent was one of the worst on the team among forwards, that may have had to do with more of who he was playing with. He generated a shot every 7.18 minutes of ice time, best on the Wings last season.

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He has the speed, the hands, the awareness, and he generates shots. The tools are all there for him to take off and become next seasons breakout player, it’s up to the Red Wings though to first sign him, and then take the chains off and free him up to do what we all know he is capable of.