The 2018-19 season is still months away, but fans cannot wait to see who will be the faces of the campaign and which breakout candidates will bring their respective team to the top and back in the championship game.
Sportsnet offered an interesting list of the early NHL breakout candidates for the 2018-19 season, and one of them keeps grabbing the attentions of fans and pundits out there.
Why? Because even though he is expected to have an explosive year and come out on top as one of the most offensive forwards, he has also been waiting on the trade block - DESPITE - signing a contract just a few weeks ago.
According to Sportsnet, Andreas Athanasiou will be one player to look out for next season, however, will he be watched as a member of the Detroit Red Wings? It remains to be seen...
Since the return of veteran forward Thomas Vanek and the arrival of young first round pick Filip Zadina, some pundits believe that the Red Wings' group of forwards gets a little more crowded with these latest additions. There is some speculation that Athanasiou could be traded before the start of the season.
Here is how Sportsnet describes his potential to be a breakout performer in 2018-19, and why other teams could be looking to land him before the end of the offseason:
"His explosive speed makes him exciting to watch and the offensive upside is still there — the question is whether Athanasiou’s defensive game will become strong enough that a coach can comfortably make him a top-six player.
In Athanasiou’s first two NHL seasons, his shooting percentages were 17 and 15, but that dropped to 9.4 in 2017-18 as he registered 16 goals. It’s fair to say that over a full season he should be at least a 20-goal scorer with the possibility for more.
Remember, too, that the 23-year-old missed training camp and the first 10 games in 2017 due to a contract dispute and that often leads to an underwhelming season. Now he’s locked in with a two-year, $6 million deal so should get off to a better start. On top of that, only three of his 33 points came on the power play despite averaging 1:44 PP minutes per game, so there could be an uptick there as well. The crux of Athanasiou’s breakout candidacy is in how much ice time the Red Wings (or an acquiring team) give him."
We could really see what everyone expected from Athanasiou last year. The question is, will he do it in a Red Wings uniform, or will he start the season as an offensive threat on another team's roster?