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The Malik Report

On the Suter/Yandle rumor, and the Red Wings pick Andreas Athanasiou with 110th overall pick

First, no, I don’t believe Tim Panaccio’s suggstion that the Penguins will land Ryan Suter’s rights—the Predators want him to circle back to them on July 1st—and the Wings would be fleeced and then some regarding Keith Yandle, especially if they want an “impact center.” Horsepucky until reality tells us otherwise.

And the Red Wings selected a risky pick in forward Andreas Athanasiou with the110th pick:

With the 110th pick in the 2012 #NHLDraft, your @DetroitRedWings select Andreas Athanasiou (LW) from the London Knights.
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Athanasiou is nicknamed ‘Double A’ and was on skates by 24 months. He started playing hockey as a four year old.
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You can follow Andreas Athanasiou on Twitter at @AndreasA86.

The Hockey News had Athanasiou ranked 32nd overall. The 6’0,” 179-lb winger was described as follows:

 

After impressing scouts last summer at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, Athanasiou had a disappointing statistical season for the London Knights.

He has tantalizing speed, skill, vision and creativity, but most who viewed Athanasiou are left wanting.

“On a team like that, with all those skilled players, I would personally say he underachieved,” said one scout.

“He’s skilled and he’s an incredible skater, but for a kid with that many tools, not enough gets done.”

If rankings were based on skill alone, Athanasiou would be a surefire first-rounder, but his tentativeness makes him a borderline top-30 selection who could tumble to the middle of the second round.

Scouts want him to take his skills and spread to less comfortable areas of the ice. “He finishes far too many plays with fade-away jump shots,” said another scout. “With his tools, if this guy wanted to drive to the net, it’s minimum a minor penalty.

Here’s an Athanasiou highlight clip:

Here’s The Sports Forecaster on Athanasiou:

R4/110 Andreas Athanasiou, C

2011-12 Stats

HT WT Team GP G A Pts PIM +/-
6-0 180 London (OHL) 63 22 15 37 22 22

Scouting Report: A highly skilled and creative forward with supreme skating ability, he teases scouts with his talent but doesn’t put it on display all the time… on a very deep Knights club, he didn’t play all the time in 2011-12, sitting out games both during the regular-season and playoffs… was rated 40th among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings… isn’t big and plays a ‘soft’ game, which doesn’t help his draft stock at all…

NHL.com has him listed at 6’0” and 170 lbs, and they had him ranked as the 40th-best North American skater

• In 2010-11, he led all London rookies with 11 goals and was second on the team with three shorthanded goals in 57 games (11-11—22).

• Anthanasiou won gold with Canada at the 2011 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial recording four points (3-1—4). He also won gold with Team Ontario at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge—he was named to the All Star team and finished with five points (2-3—5) in six games.

• Off the ice, he is a fan of the sport Sepak takraw, or kick volleyball, a popular sport in Malaysia. The sport allows players to use their feet, knee, chest or head to touch the ball in an area similar to a badminton court with a net about five feet tall.

• Nicknamed ‘Double A’, Anthansiou was on skates before he turned two years old and started playing hockey at age four.

• The Anthanasiou family is pretty familiar with hockey—Alex’s older sister played and his older brother, Dimitre, was drafted by the St. Michael’s Majors of the OHL in 2004.

STATISTICS
SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A P PIM
2009-2010 TORONTO TITANS GTHL 56 24 34 58 32
2010-2011 LONDON OHL 57 11 11 22 21
2011-2012 LONDON OHL 63 22 15 37 22

Via Lindenau:

Here’s RedWIngsCentral‘s take:

4-110. LW/C Andreas Athanasiou, 6-0, 179, London (OHL), 63-22-15-37-22. One of the fastest skaters available in the draft, Athanasiou went to the Memorial Cup final with London and was rated 40th among North American by Central Scouting. Slipped somewhat because of his inability to produce more and needs to work on his consistency, but potential is there.


Update: Via RedWIngsFeed, here’s Mike Babcock speaking to the NHL Network:

Update #2: Here’s MLive’s Ansar Khan on Athanasiou:

The Detroit Red Wings selected forward Andreas Athanasiou from OHL London with their third pick, 110th overall in the fourth round, at the NHL entry draft at the Consol Energy Center.

Athanasiou (6-2, 165) had 22 goals and 37 points in 63 games last season.

Update #3: From the Wings:

Andreas Athanasiou ‏@AndreasA86

Proud to be a member of the Detroit Red Wings, so excited for this
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Andreas Athanasiou ‏@AndreasA86

@DetroitRedWings Thank you for drafting me, looking forward to stepping on the ice and being a part of this organization

Update #3: Hockeysfuture has a profile of Athanasiou:

History
2009-10: Athanasiou scored at a better than a point-per-game pace playing for the Toronto Titans Midget AAA team in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. In 56 games he scored 24 goals with 34 assists and had 32 penalty minutes. He was selected by London in the fourth round (81st overall) of the 2010 OHL Priority Draft.

2010-11: Athanasiou skated in 57 games as an OHL rookie with the London Knights and was part of the gold medal-winning Ontario squad at the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge. He scored 11 goals with 11 assists and was minus-11 with 22 penalty minutes. The Knights reached the OHL playoffs despite finishing last in the Midwest Division. In six playoff games Athanasiou was minus-one with no points or penalties. Athanasiou was one of five players for Ontario who had five or more points in the five-game WHC, finishing with 2 goals and 3 assists.

2011-12: Athanasiou was one of five players to score 20 or more goals on a London Knights team that finished with the OHL’s best record. In 63 games he scored 22 goals with 15 assists and was plus-22 with 22 penalty minutes. Athanasiou skated in nine of the Knights’ first 17 playoff games as London reached the OHL playoff finals and scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was plus-six. He was invited to the NHL Draft Combine and ranked 41st amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft.

HF’s Jason Menard penned a profile of Athanasiou as well:

They say that speed kills. And for whichever team selects London Knights’ forward Andreas Athanasiou in June’s NHL entry draft, they’re going to find themselves with a veritable assassin in their organization. For a league that puts a premium on speed, the Woodbridge, ON native will be a valuable asset. But while the young forward does put in the time to improve his stride, speed is just a natural component of this — and many other — games.

“It’s just natural. It’s always been a key part of my game playing hockey. Even when I’m playing basketball, soccer, track — I was on a track-and-field club team outside of school — I’ve always been pretty fast,” Athanasiou explained. “It’s always been my go-to — it’s always been there, even when I was a little kid. I remember going on the ice with my dad when I was really young, maybe a couple of years old, and having him swing me around so that I could just pick up tons and tons of speed and just fly around. I just loved it.”

You can see it in his face that there’s not much Athanasiou likes more than flying around the ice. His eyes light up when you ask him to explain what it’s like to figuratively fly around the rink — although he does admit that his speed sometimes gets him places faster than even he wants to go.

“Oh yeah. It’s one of the best feelings going fast. You can feel it for sure. When you get going, you’re like ‘Oh my God…,’” he said. “And sometimes you get that feeling like ‘Oh My God!’ You know, those moments when the boards are coming closer and closer or when the goalie’s closing in on you. You look down for a second and when you look back up you’re saying, ‘My God he’s right there!’ And you have to get out of the way. I’m starting to adjust to it.”

Some had Athanasiou pegged as a top-10 selection in the upcoming NHL entry draft. This season, on a deep (and top-ranked) London Knights’ team, Athanasiou hasn’t performed as some expected and his draft stock has slipped in the eyes (and words) of some pundits. But Athanasiou said he believes the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

“I try to stay away from what they say — obviously I see it here and there and there are people who tell me what they say. But if they have that opinion, well then it’s fine for them. I think if they come watch a game then their opinion will change,” he said. “My play — maybe on stats or on paper, my season’s not as good as it looks, but people who watch me play can see the chances I’m creating. My speed is just going to get faster. I’m already decently fast, but I’m just going to get faster — I can imagine myself in a couple of years and how much faster I’ll be. If they want to say that stuff, then that’s their opinion. I can just go out there and play my game and do my best to change it.”

Update #4: NHL.com’s Mike G. Morreale penned a profile of Athanasiou as well:

Athanasiou said he was on skates before he turned 2 years old and began playing hockey at the age of 4.

“My older brother and sister played as kids and my dad was a big athletic guy … he played basketball and hockey and he put me on skates really early,” Athanasiou said. “I think I was eight months. I fell in love with the game; I always wanted to go fast and [my father] would be pushing me on the chair as a kid. I just fell in love with the game and I never lost that passion for it.”

In addition to hockey, Athanasiou is a big fan of the sport sepak takraw, or kick volleyball, which happens to be a popular sport in Malaysia.

“It’s like playing volleyball with your feet, and badminton with the high net,” Athanasiou said. “You just use your feet. You can’t use your hands. It involves a lot of athleticism. You can play on a … normal gym floor.”

Athanasiou said he played the sport in the eighth grade, when his teacher put a team of interested participants together. The team he played for not only won local honors, but traveled to Calgary and finished second among all Canadian teams.

“It involved a lot of athleticism since you have to put your body in a lot of weird positions, but it was a really fun game,” he said.

On the ice, the native of London, Ont., wears jersey No. 86 since his birthday falls on Aug. 6. Interestingly, Athanasiou admitted he wouldn’t mind becoming an airline pilot later in life.

“My dad is a pilot and an engineer,” Athanasiou said. “So school is a big thing in my house. I can’t play unless I’m in school, and if I don’t get the marks, my mom would take me out of hockey. Being a pilot is cool … being able to control a plane. I haven’t taken any lessons, but I used to help my dad when I was a kid with all his testing online and loved it.”

Update #5: The Score’s Jake Golsbie had Athanasiou ranked 32nd overall, and Yahoo Sports’ Neate Sager asked him five questions:

1. If you were to be brutally honest about your season, what do you think you could have done better?

“Just shoot the puck more. I tend to make a pass here and there, but I have to shoot more.”

2. Whom in the NHL do you watch and say, “I see things he does that I need to start doing” or “I need to play more like him?”

“I think a Marian Gaborik type of player with his speed and his size. He’s definitely a player I watch with how he uses his speed to make plays for his teammates.”

3. What do you consider your proudest hockey achievement?

“Coming to the OHL as a fourth-rounder and being able to make the Ontario under-17 team last season and be named to the tournament all-star team. Also, being named to the [Team Canada] under-18 team and getting to be the No. 1 centre there [at last summer’s Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament. Getting to play for Coach [Steve] Spott [of the rival Kitchener Rangers] was one of the greatest honours I’ve had so far and I’m really looking forward to the draft.”

4. Outside of family, who has had the most impact on you in hockey?

“There’s two people who’ve had a big impact on me. The first is one of my buddies who passed away, Chase McEachern, who I played with a while ago. He was my winger. I was there at the hospital for a couple days before he passed away [in 2006 from a heart problem]. I pass by that hospital every day in London.

“Another is one of my coaches who passed away, Stu Davison. He played for the Cornwall Royals and taught me a lot of stuff. He taught me about staying with the play. He was one of my best coaches because he was real fast. He was one of the guys who could actually stay with me.”

5. London is one of the most popular picks when BTN asks OHLers to name their favourite road rink, so one has to pose that question to a Knights player. Where’s your favourite place to play other than the John Labatt Centre?

“I’m going to say Owen Sound [Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre] because of my four-goal game there [on Dec. 3]. It’s just a lucky arena. I set a London Knights record there with two goals in six seconds. There’s just something about that arena. I know a lot of players don’t like it, but I like it.”

He’s a good stickhandler, too:

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Comments

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I thought I remembered Nill saying something about it being a big mans game??

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/23/12 at 12:44 PM ET

Avatar

Six foot isn’t small. Do you want skill or size? If you want a little of both sometimes you’re going to have lower your expectations a bit especially in the later rounds. I’m better they could have easily picked a 6’6” kid who skates like stanchion.

Posted by Moocat on 06/23/12 at 12:59 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

6’ is small

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/23/12 at 01:26 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

and I was going on a quote by Jim Nill about drafting size, what I want doesn’t matter.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/23/12 at 01:45 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Funny they must have heard you say say 6’ was small?? Detroit took left winger Rasmus Bodin (6-6, 207 pounds) That is Huge

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 06/23/12 at 01:55 PM ET

Avatar

6’ is small? In the fourth round? For one of the fastest skaters in this draft?

Moocat has it right. Unless you’re picking in the top 15, you’re not going to get great size and great skill. In the fourth round? Forget about it.

This is a great fourth-round pick in that I see boom-or-bust potential in this guy. Great skater, great hands, and he’s only 17. This is the point in the draft when you start swinging for the fences, and this guy has the ability to be a star.

We can only wait and hope!

Posted by Scott on 06/23/12 at 01:56 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I agree Scott.. doesn’t address the point I was making at all but I agree hahaha

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/23/12 at 02:28 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

and btw, we just got a 6’-6” C in the last round and sounds like he has some skill too.  So I don’t think your arguement holds up

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/23/12 at 02:30 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

And Jonny was drafted last pick overall and he’s a top 4 now.. begrudgingly.. and he’s 6’ 5”

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/23/12 at 02:31 PM ET

Avatar

ericsson is no top 4, if kenny allows that we are doomed.

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 06/23/12 at 02:56 PM ET

SYF's avatar

“Double A” reminds me a lot of Ned Lukacevic when he played for the Wranglers.  No player in Wranglers history ever tantalized more than Lukacevic.  IF he wanted, he could dominate the ECHL.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 06/23/12 at 04:12 PM ET

Avatar

And Jonny was drafted last pick overall and he’s a top 4 now

He’s only top four right now because Detroit only has five d under contract.  He won’t be top four in October.

Posted by Garth on 06/23/12 at 04:27 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I hope you’re right Garth, but I’m wililng to bet that’s exactly what happens.  blank-kronners, blank-..white? Quincy?  I’m willing to bet you that Babs goes with Big E on the second pair especially if it turns into a feeding frenzy for parise and suter.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/23/12 at 06:06 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Another Jurco-style trickster with the puck.  I like it.  Put this guy with Jurco and Brunner and you’ve just invented yourself a whole new style of offensive hockey.

I found this clip fun too:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw3zbgWaRLk

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 06/24/12 at 02:37 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.