The Red Wings skated off the ice in Long Island on Saturday trying to hide their disappointment of another week filled with losses. Dating back to November 4, the Wings have dropped six straight games. Now the team has still racked up some points in the standings over that stretch – losing their past five in overtime or in a shootout.
But the Hockeytown faithful are growing restless – having watched their team drop seven straight at Joe Louis Arena. Fans are beginning to call for change – asking for some kind of difference in the on-ice product.
The team responded by waiving Jordin Tootoo. They followed that up by waiving Patrick Eaves. But the results haven’t changed. The team’s dropped out of the Atlantic Division’s top three and are still looking for answers.
Changing The Tide of Red Wings’ News
On Sunday, the team made a move to steer the attention of their fans and the media in another direction. Renaud Lavoie reported the Wings signed their fourth-round pick from 2012, Andreas Athanasiou, to a three-year entry level contract.
Andreas Athanasiou signed his entry level contract with Red Wings. 3 years / 651 000 AAV (2 way)
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) November 17, 2013
The 19-year old is coming off a game in which he had three assists for the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts. He’s recorded 24 points (8g-16a) in 21 games thus far this season in helping his Colts to second place in the OHL’s Eastern Conference.
But it was in London where Athanasiou likely developed the most as an NHL-calibre player. He played for the London Knights from 2010 to 2012. In London, he had a chance to learn the game further under the leadership of Dale and Mark Hunter who have developed NHL draft picks year after year.
Another Diamond in the Red Wings’ Rough
As a fourth-round pick, 110th overall, Athanasiou comes with a lot of promise. He’s a skilled player with the ability to deke opponents and dazzle the crowd with his masterful stick work.
Now, it may be a stretch to compare the young left winger to star Wings’ forwards like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, but he certainly falls into the same category as those two when it comes to where he was drafted.
The Wings’ have always had a knack for finding those ‘diamonds in the rough’ – otherwise known as the talented players in the later rounds of the draft. Everyone knows that both Datsyuk and Zetterberg were taken late. But they aren’t the only late round gems the team has picked in the past.
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Most recently of course, Datsyuk was taken in the sixth round in 1998 with the 171st pick overall and Zetterberg was taken the following year in the seventh round with the 210th pick overall. In 2005, Darren Helm was taken in the fifth round and in 2008 the Wings’ took Gustav Nyquist with the 121st overall pick.
So only time will tell just how valuable Athanasiou will be to the Detroit Red Wings, but if history is any indication of their ability to notice talent, he should make for a good young player for years to come.
— Andreas Athanasiou (@AndreasA86) September 18, 2013
You can follow the newest Red Wings’ signing Andreas Athanasiou on Twitter @AndreasA86.
Any questions or comments? Let me know or follow me on Twitter @AndrewGForbes
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.