Embed from Getty Images It has been one full decade since the Detroit Red Wings have had a 30 goal scorer. In a lost season for the Detroit Red Wings it is about what is next. It shows how close the organization is to returning to competitive hockey again by have two of the teams young stars closing in on 30 goals.
On a chilly day in the Motor City, Andreas Athanasiou scored goals numbers 25 and 26 as the Red Wings beat the New York Islanders 2-1 in a rare win. The two goals moved the young forward/center into second place on the team in goals scored. Dylan Larkin is at this time the team leader with 27.
Andreas Athanasiou, is a pure goal scorer who plays little defense. That was the knock on him his first couple of NHL seasons. This season has seen Andreas’ defense improve. He even checked a player from New York into the boards.
When Athanasiou’s defense is as consistent as his offense he will be a dynamic player. He will also be a force to be reckoned with. Giving the Red Wings the potential to have multiple players capable of 30 goals.
Last season the Detroit Red Wings asked Dylan Larkin to work on his passing and forecheck. He did. It came at the expense of his goal scoring. Larkin had a career low 16 goals in the 2017-18 season. Having worked on his game and clean it up, the Red Wings told Larkin to return to shooting the puck more. He did. To the tune of 27 goals this season.
This is what a rebuild looks like. It is not as easy as drafting players and sticking them out on the ice. It is draft them, see what they bring to the table and working with them. Allowing them space and time to fail and succeed.
Now Detroit has an excellent two way center in Dylan Larkin who can do it all. They have a budding superstar in Andreas Athanasiou who has improved every season he has played in Motown.
Both players are under 24 years old, and both are explosive goal scorers. Both players have gotten better every game they have played for the Winged Wheels.
Both players are above average in the face-off circle as well. Athanasiou who is transitioning to center and done very well with the move has also had to play wing for the Red Wings due to injuries to Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi earlier in the season.
The Detroit Red Wings are not sure if Andreas Athanasiou will continue to stay at center. The Red Wings are looking at a top three lottery pick in June’s NHL draft and could take a center in the draft. It just depends where they think Anthanasiou can both excel and help the Wings.
The last time Detroit had more than one 30 goal scorer was 2008-09 the year Detroit won it’s last Stanley Cup Championship, when Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Marian Hossa reached the goal mark.
This is very good news for the rebuilding Red Wings who are just about set for flight again.