Detroit Red Wings: Filling the Zetterberg Void

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 24: Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at the Air Canada Centre on March 24, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 24: Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at the Air Canada Centre on March 24, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings
TORONTO, ON – MARCH 24: Andreas Athanasiou /

Andreas Athanasiou would be our choice to start the season as the Detroit Red Wings second line center.

AA, has shown flashes of brilliance at times and other moments of being merely invisible. The hope is with much more consistent ice-time, Athanasiou will thrive, and the scoring chances would outweigh the times of imperfect play.

Head coach Jeff Blashill has already committed to AA as his third line center.  Andreas was expected to start the season once again on the wing, covering up his lack of defensive ability.

Darren Helm could be asked to flank Andreas to help provide defensive stability, and Helm is no slouch in the skating department, he can undoubtedly fly up and down the ice.

Andreas a fluid skater, possibly the best skater on the team hasn’t shown a constant desire to commit to the defensive side of the game. A player with this skating ability down the middle has to be better in his end.  Speed is something that cannot be taught.  This is the main reason Athanasiou was expected to start once again on a wing this season.

Double-A will be pressed into duty down the middle of the Red Wings line up.  Sometimes a player needs an opportunity; sometimes a player needs to feel a sense of urgency. Occasionally specific players need to be forced into a role before they can thrive.

Athanasiou in eight fewer contests produced the same stat line as Nielsen last season, 16 goals, 17 helpers totaling 33 points. Nielsen was a plus 1, AA a minus 15.  That is a big difference.

The area again, like a broken record, we cannot stress enough is the defensive ability.  AA has a toolbox full of offensive tools; he needs to make sure he follows the diagram laid out before him to become a complete player.

Blashill, we all know prefers the safe move.  Nielsen will start as the second line center, but for the future and development of the Detroit Red Wings, we prefer AA. I hope Athanasiou can unseat Frans and be the next center called upon after Dylan Larkin has completed his shift.