The Andreas Athanasiou era in Edmonton has been short. Really short.
And with that, it was difficult to gauge what the Oilers really had in the high-flying speedy winger. Oh, and that’s not even mentioning the fact that he was dealing with a lower-body injury to boot.
Overall there are major question marks about Athanasiou’s game. He’s scored 30 goals in this league which is no small task, but he also is known for defensive struggles and often inconsistent play.
So when we’re trying to determine what to expect from the Oilers players this summer, Athanasiou ends up being a difficult one to project.
I think Athanasiou will match up well against Chicago. They’re far from a fast team, so his ability as a burner in and of itself will be a valuable asset for the Oilers. He’ll be able to use his speed on dump and chases and on controlled zone entries.
Athanasiou is able to chip in offensively, too, and did score 26 points in 55 games this season. I’d expect to see in him in the Oilers top-nine, but it’s hard to pear down exactly where he’ll fit in. Despite that, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Oilers give him a shot alongside Connor McDavid once again.
The two are some of the fastest players in the NHL and showed a bit of chemistry alongside Tyler Ennis post-trade deadline. It wouldn’t shock me to see Dave Tippett bring these three back together.
— Oilersnation (@OilersnationHQ) February 26, 2020
In the playoffs
If the Oilers beat Chicago in the first round, I can see Athanasiou settling into a more impact role for the Oilers. Look, the offensive talent is clearly there and he’s been a point contributor on some bad Detroit teams in the last few seasons.
That’s saying something in and of itself as Detroit has had some bad seasons. I expect once he’s able to get himself a little more settled on the ice and build some chemistry, he turns into a solid offensive threat for the Oilers.
On Twitter: @zjlaing