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Athanasiou on a mission — again

Published Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 12:40 p.m. under 2013-14 RWC Reports
Andreas Athanasiou

Andreas Athanasiou (Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

It looks like Andreas Athanasiou has shaken off his slow start.

The 19-year-old Barrie Colts left-winger — ignored in the evaluation process for Canada’s world junior team — has exploded offensively since the start of November, putting up an eye-popping nine goals and 16 assists for 25 points in his past 14 games. In the past nine games, he’s been named the first star four times and the second star three times, and he just picked up the OHL’s player-of-the-week honours after recording two goals and five assists in two games.

It’s exactly the kind of success the Red Wings were expecting after he knocked their socks off at training camp in Traverse City, Mich., in September. He scored a team-high three goals in the prospects tournament, was the only junior prospect to suit up in the red-and-white game and in an NHL exhibition contest, and signed entry-level contract after camp ended.

“He had an outstanding camp … he came in and he was on a mission, he wanted to open everybody’s eyes and prove to everyone how good he could be,” said Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer. “When he got back to Barrie, in all fairness, I know Andreas tries really hard, but he didn’t play up to the level he did at camp and in the rookie tournament. He played harder, he was more determined and he played better when he was in Traverse City.”

The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder was ranked as a top-20 prospect entering his draft year in 2011, but slipped all the way to the fourth round, 110th overall, after struggling on a deep London Knights team that won an OHL championship and went to the Memorial Cup.

Traded to Barrie last off-season after requesting a change of scenery, Athanasiou reestablished himself as a prospect with a 67-point campaign and turned heads in a run to the OHL final with 25 points in 22 games. Now, he’s on the cusp of the OHL’s top-20 scorers and will likely continue to climb that list now that he’s shaken off his early-season struggles.

Elite speed has always been Athanasiou’s claim to fame.

“I haven’t seen a better skater this season, yet, in the OHL,” Fischer said. “In the Traverse City tournament, it was good enough to create at least one breakaway per game … He was routinely beating defensemen with his speed, driving wide, taking the puck to the net. You don’t see that every day when there are so many great-skating defensemen who are so great positionally. He’s as fluid on his feet as anyone … He’s fun to watch skate, that’s for sure.”

So does Athanasiou — who actually prefers playing center over left wing — have the hands to capitalize on the chances his speed creates, particularly at the next level?

“He certainly has enough skill and scoring ability — he’s good in shootouts, he sees the ice well, he can really move the puck, he’s not selfish,” Fischer said.

But the Red Wings would like to see Athanasiou play with more of an edge and develop the types of traits Darren Helm honed as a 40-goal scorer with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. That could ultimately determine exactly how effective he is offensively as a pro.

“His offense will need to come from being very hard to play against,” Fischer said. “He can be a little bit more in people’s faces than he has been in the OHL this year. Time will tell.”

NOTES: Grand Rapids is 17-4-1-1 and leads the AHL in goals per game (3.86), despite the fact only one active player (Tomas Jurco) is in the top 20 scorers … Goaltender Petr Mrazek (Grand Rapids, AHL) hasn’t lost since October, posting nine straight wins. In that stretch, he has a 1.55 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage. He’s doing everything he can to prove he’s worthy of Detroit’s backup job in 2014-15 … Center Calle Jarnkrok (Grand Rapids, AHL) has just two points — goals — in his past eight games. His 12 points in 23 games as a first-year AHLer are surprisingly low for a player who has already finished in the top 10 and top 20 Swedish Hockey League scorers in his young career … Center Landon Ferraro (Grand Rapids, AHL) ended a 10-game scoring slump, which included eight straight games without a single point, last week. He now has five goals and six assists in 20 games after missing training camp with a fractured foot. “I felt like I had kind of gone down for a bit,” Ferraro told MLive.com. “ You see guys moving all around you and getting points and you start forcing things and that’s when it really starts going bad for you.” … Defenseman Nick Jensen (Grand Rapids, AHL) made his Griffin s debut last week and will attempt to get his season on track after more than four months on the sidelines because of shoulder injury … Right-winger Trevor Parkes (Toledo, ECHL) is 11th in ECHL scoring, despite the fact Toledo was shutout three straight games two weeks ago.

Sarah Lindenau contributed to this report.

SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE LEVEL GP G A P PIM +/- SOG
Almquist, Adam Grand Rapids AHL PRO 20 0 14 14 18 +6 41
Callahan, Mitchell Grand Rapids AHL PRO 23 9 4 13 29 +12 48
Jurco, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL PRO 23 11 14 25 8 +11 67
Marchenko, Alexey Grand Rapids AHL PRO 23 2 11 13 4 +14 16
Sheahan, Riley Grand Rapids AHL PRO 20 5 6 11 8 +5 31
Sproul, Ryan Grand Rapids AHL PRO 23 5 11 16 8 +14 52
Glendening, Luke Grand Rapids AHL PRO 16 3 7 10 14 +9 21
Jarnkrok, Calle Grand Rapids AHL PRO 23 7 5 12 8 +12 38
Pulkkinen, Teemu Grand Rapids AHL PRO 23 9 9 18 14 +13 50
Frk, Martin Grand Rapids AHL PRO 6 0 0 0 6 -3 3
Jensen, Nick Grand Rapids AHL PRO 1 0 0 0 0 +1 0
Tvrdon, Marek Grand Rapids AHL PRO 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
Ferraro, Landon Grand Rapids AHL PRO 20 5 6 11 15 +4 56
Aubry, Louis-Marc Grand Rapids AHL PRO 1 0 0 0 5 0 1
Fournier, Gleason Grand Rapids AHL PRO 7 0 0 0 0 +3 4
Nestrasil, Andrej Grand Rapids AHL PRO 18 2 3 5 10 +4 17
Ouellet, Xavier Grand Rapids AHL PRO 21 1 5 6 4 +10 26
Nedomlel, Richard Grand Rapids AHL PRO 3 0 0 0 2 -2 1
Parkes, Trevor Toledo ECHL PRO 18 13 9 22 8 -1 72
Frk, Martin Toledo ECHL PRO 11 4 6 10 10 -9 20
Nicastro, Max Toledo ECHL PRO 17 0 5 5 6 -6 34
Nedomlel, Richard Toledo ECHL PRO 6 1 1 2 22 -2 3
Tvrdon, Marek Toledo ECHL PRO 13 5 3 8 6 -7 32
Aubry, Louis-Marc Toledo ECHL PRO 6 2 1 3 6 -3 22
Jensen, Nick Toledo ECHL PRO 3 0 0 0 0 -2 4
Mantha, Anthony Val-d’Or QMJHL CHL 31 33 36 69 34 +15 175
Hudon, Philippe Victoriaville QMJHL CHL 25 10 4 14 43 -5 59
Athanasiou, Andreas Barrie OHL CHL 28 14 25 39 30 +11
Nastasiuk, Zach Owen Sound OHL CHL 31 13 16 29 16 -3
Bertuzzi, Tyler Guelph OHL CHL 29 10 25 35 49 +9
McNulty, Marc Prince George WHL CHL 28 6 9 15 52 +4
Wheaton, Mitchell Kelowna WHL CHL 12 0 6 6 14 +2
Janmark, Mattias AIK SEL EUR 26 14 8 22 34 -5 64
Backman, Mattias Linkoping SEL EUR 30 3 7 10 8 +14 35
Melen, Hampus Tingsryds SWE-J20 EUR-JR 11 0 5 5 14 -6 17
Bodin, Rasmus Linkoping SWE-J20 EUR-JR 14 0 2 2 2 -3 5
De Haas, James Clarkson ECAC NCAA 16 2 4 6 10 -1 21
Marshall, Ben Minnesota BIG-10 NCAA 15 2 3 5 27 +4 31
McKee, Mike W. Michigan BIG-10 NCAA 10 0 0 0 46 0 1
Pope, David W. Kelowna USHL/JR-A JR-A 17 7 7 14 6

GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT

NAME TEAM LEAGUE GP W L O/S SO GAA SV%
Paterson, Jake Saginaw OHL 21 10 9 2 0 3.72 .898
Coreau, Jared Grand Rapids AHL 1 0 1 0 0 3.82 .846
Mrazek, Petr Grand Rapids AHL 13 10 2 1 1 2.09 .927
Coreau, Jared Toledo ECHL 9 1 5 3 0 4.42 .865
McCollum, Thomas Grand Rapids AHL 11 7 2 0 0 2.28 .922

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23 Comments
  1. Patrick says:

    if Marchenko just needs help on offense, then he will be great… he is +14 with what you are calling not-so-great offense…

  2. Matthewl14 says:

    Being from barrie I get to see athanasiou play quite a bit. His speed is incredible…both top end and acceleration. Sometimes he gets himself in to situations where he is to deep in the corner or has no option but to circle the net and other times he splits the d like a pro. His shot is good but not stellar. I think he will be a surefire NHL player cause of his speed and hand eye coordination but whether he is top 6 will depend on his ability to connect with better players. In barrie his line mates can’t keep up from a sed perspective so its common he is 1 on 2 or 3, the question is when he has line mates that can keep up how will he do. I am also not sure how well his run and gun approach will fit with the wings system but that is coachable. Overall he is a steal in the 4th round.

  3. Robert says:

    I believe the signed him to a contract already. Says no contract on his page. Just wanted to let you know.

    http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf/2013/11/detroit_red_wings_sign_forward.html

  4. AB says:

    Good article here. Sounds like the Wings may have a linemate for Helmer!

    Totally off point here, but did anyone see last nights game vs the ‘Ning? Man Clearly looks lost, he ran right into Tatar who was point blank on a scoring chance. I bet he’d clear waivers if they cut him. Let’s bring back Eaves or rotate in some young guys for a bit to replace him. Boy he looks bad. On the other hand it looks like Sammy, Quincey and Emmerton are starting to make some plays. .that’s nice to see!

    Finally whoever said they should trade Mrzak is out of their mind. Kids a gamer and has potential to be a total stud in the NHL. In that regard, he maybe the Wings most important prospect. Unless it was a Kings Ranson – couple 1st rounders and an established NHL player no way would I trade him at present.

  5. Patrick says:

    There is a difference between the inevitable and wanting to trade him. We can probly get quite a bit out of Mrazek in a trade that would very much help the team. If Coreau or Paterson prove that they can take the helm from Howard, then it is obvious that we should see what we can get.

  6. ScottD says:

    I would not trade Mrazek unless we can figure out if Paterson and or Coreau can be an ample goalie to replace him. Remember Hasek was backing up Belfor in Chicago and no one really knew just what he could do until his trade. I would hate to have that happen here in Detroit. Plus with Mrazek’s limited amount of NHL time I’m not sure anyone at this point would give us exactly what we would deserve for Mrazek yet.

  7. Brono says:

    Jurco gets the call

  8. Patrick says:

    after the game is over, someone who watched the game tell how he did. I can’t watch the game tonight…



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