NHL Draft Prospect Profile #50: Andreas Athanasiou

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Updated: May 26, 2012

Drafted 110th Overall by the Detroit Red Wings.

Last summer, it appeared as if the sky was the limit for Andreas Athanasiou.  The London Knights player wowed the Scouts with a very impressive performance, helping to lead Canada to the Gold Medal at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament.  He then went to the NHL’s summer Research and Development camp and showed off his skills and created an even bigger buzz.  Athanasiou was being projected as a sure fire first round pick and even a potential top 10 pick.  He raised the bar  and many expected a true breakout season in the OHL.  Unfortunately those expectations were never met, and Athanasiou had what must be called a disappointing year on an excellent London Knights squad, one that will play for the Memorial Cup on Sunday.  He is joined on the squad by the previously profiled, Olli Maatta and a number of other draft eligible players.

Centre/Left Wing
Born Aug 6 1994 — Woodbridge, ONT
Height 6.01 — Weight 179 — Shoots Left

2010-11 London Knights OHL 57 11 11 22 21 -11 6 0 0 0 0
2011-12 London Knights OHL 63 22 15 37 22 22 11 1 4 5 0

Athanasiou has tremendous skill.  He is one of the fastest and best skaters in this draft.  His top end speed is off the charts.  He has great acceleration and agility, and can make pivots and change directions with ease.  His edgework and balance are also exceptional.  All of this makes him a very difficult player for defenders to handle off the rush.

Athanasiou also has incredible stickhandling ability.  He has soft, quick hands and can make extremely creative dangles with ease.  He has the ability to stick handle in a phone booth, and is a menace to goaltenders in the shootout.  Athanasiou combines this with a hard, accurate shot, and quick release, which had NHL scouts salivating over his ability to be a high end goal scorer in the NHL.  He also has decent vision and good passing skills.  Its easy to see flashes of what made him so intriguing to scouts last summer.

So why is Athanasiou ranked 50th?  He has two main issues.  The first is consistency.  There are nights when Athanasiou is dominant, where he looks like the top 10 pick that many talked about last summer.  There are times he can go end to end at will, and he can be an unstoppable force.  Unfortunately those nights are far to few, and far between.  You never know which Athanasiou is going to show up, will it be the dynamic offensive force, or the floating winger?

On the nights when Athanasiou disappears, his issue is a lack of intensity.  He doesn’t drive the net often enough.  He sticks to the outside and takes a low percentage shot, instead of trying to make a play in traffic and risking getting hit.  He can float and appears to be afraid of contact, almost going through the motions.  There are nights where it seems like he is allergic to going to the front of the net, or to battling for a puck along the boards.  This lack of intensity has not gone unnoticed by coaches as Athanasiou was even made a healthy scratch in a few of London’s playoff games.

Athanasiou is a serious boom or bust prospect.  He has all the skills necessary to be a top line NHLer, but he lacks the consistency and intensity to do so.  He will be a long term project and could require a lot of coaching going forward, but there is potential for a huge reward.  His max ceiling is very high and we’d compare him to a player who could be a cross between Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders and Jussi Jokinen of the Carolina Hurricanes.  Unfortunately for Athanasiou, the bust potential is also very, very high as well.

… and thats the Last Word.

11 Comments

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  4. Kostas Tsagopoulos

    May 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Excellent observation on this kids attributes but your ranking is an indication that you are clueless on what goes on behind the scenes. “Floating Winger”. I believe this kid played the center position at the Ivan Hlinka tournament and NHL research and development camp.
    Your ranking is based on what position?
    I am also of the opinion when you relate time on ice to his performances this player over achieved again. Comparing results of any type are only valid if the parameters used to make such comparisons are identical. Intensity is a poor excuse to use as an indicator for this players drop in nhl draft ranking. After all his greatest strength is his ability to compete at the highest level of competition.
    Take a look at why your ranking makes no sense
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTbJJ2YkK3k

    • Ben Kerr

      May 31, 2012 at 11:37 pm

      Athanasiou may have played centre in the summer, but he played wing in London.

      I’ve watched a lot, and I mean a lot of London games this year, especially the playoffs and the memorial cup.

      As for your youtube… yes, the kid has world class skills, no doubt about that… however he doesn’t use them consistently. Much like Pavel Brendl (who also has an amazing youtube video, but is an NHL bust of the highest order) the highlights of his best plays look fantastic.

      Until Athanasiou can show the ability to do that on a consistent basis, his ranking will not go up.

      There is a reason why this kid was a healthy scratch in the playoffs for about half a dozen games, and its because he floats and doesn’t bring intensity every night. This is also why his time on the ice is low as well, when he isn’t giving 100% intensity, he’s not worth having on the ice. When he does give 100% he’s the best player on the ice. Its all up to him now. Does he have that heart and desire? Its time to show it IMO.

  5. Vince Alexander

    June 1, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I can’t believe how well this kid has played on the wing this year for the knights. He showed the hockey experts how versatile he is. The London knights have invested 0% in developing this kid. It is his pure athleticism that has carried him to unbelievable accomplishments. The last time I saw him play was at the memorial cup. Once again the talk was limited ice but his performances were very good. No free pass for this player he has earned it on his own. No matter how much they try to hide this kid he always finds a way to showcase his talents. Your explanation on intensity is a theory with no merit. To me it looks more like the Knights coaching staff lack the ability and even go to great lengths to make sure they don’t inspire him. It really is a shame because at the international level they identify him as a London Knight Player.

    • Ben Kerr

      June 1, 2012 at 11:19 am

      London has an outstanding track record for developing prospects under the Hunters, whether its Perry, Kane, Gagner, Kadri, Bolland, Sergei Kostitsyn, and numerous other forwards. They work well with the kids and I think the Hunters have earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to coaching and development.

      So why is he a healthy scratch so often in the playoffs?

      Also why are the numbers not there. Athanasiou’s skill level is nearly as high as Kane, Gagner, and Kadri, but the kid is not putting up points at the same rate (or anywhere close to it), why is that.

      I have a hard time believing the Knights haven’t been developping him. Thats not what I see on the ice and thats not their pattern in the past.

  6. jon singleton

    June 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    kane was 19 when he played, had a penalty clause in his contract if he played less than 25 min per game Knights would have to pay him a 6 figure amount.
    gagner dad had to be on the bench to ensure his son gets plenty of ice. ice=development…sames as galchenyuk, moved to sarnia with family to ensure his kid and the other russian get plenty of ice talk to the other players that had to sit and watch especially the one that went to kitchener and did better with ice , sarnia got rid of a good coach to make room for him. domi is in hunters face 7/24 ensuring his kid get his ice and pushing him with all his buddies on tv. horvat 10 a player domi will ever be and is a first rounder and had to sit and watch…being a healthy scratch>>shall i go on> read between the lines buddy

    • Ben Kerr

      June 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      Kane wasn’t 19… by 19 Kane was in the NHL. Check your facts on that one. Kane in 2006-07 was 18 not 19. Same age basically as Athanasiou, only a difference of a few months.

      London won the OHL Championship for a reason, and Max Domi was a huge part of that, they lost the Memorial Cup final in Overtime. I’m sorry, I just don’t buy that the coaches were playing favorites, and were giving ice time because they are friends with Tie Domi. This is a well run professional organization, and they won the OHL Championship (against virtually all “expert” predictions) by running the team this way. I’m glad the Hunters don’t read our site because I think they would be insulted by what you are insinuating here.

      Also, changing your name on each comment doesn’t convince me you are three different people. I can check your IP address and know the last three comments are all coming from the same computer.

      So who are you Kostas, Vince, or Jon? or might you be someone with the last name Athanasiou too?

      Don’t worry though, I’m no pro scout and I doubt NHL teams are looking at our little website, they’ll have their own data on Andreas and we’ll see what they think on June 22nd, or 23rd.

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