How good is Athanasiou?

So, the Wings cleared some cap space. With Yandle and Goligoski already off the mnarket, there’s not exactly a lot of help to be had on the blueline. Up front, there is Stamkos and then some guys who would best fit as second or third line centers and who should’t necessarily be expected to bring much production from those spots.

The situation is a bit different on the wings, though. If you’re looking for forwards to move up and down the wings and score goals, there are a number of good options who bring a variety of positives and negatives, depending on what you’re looking for. The Wings could use some more guys with size (who actually use it) and could look at guys like Kyle Okposo and Milan Lucic (not to mention Troy Brouwer, Andrew Ladd, or even Shane Doan). If you’re just looking for some more socring, there are guy like Loui Eriksson, Jiri Hudler, or Teddy Purcell. There are options.

So, going out and grabbing some clear upgrades at wing would be a lot easier than trying to pull in Stamkos or a non-existent D. Whch brings up the question: how good is Andreas Athanasiou?

We know Larkin has the potential to be a legitimate top2 center, but we can’t say that about pretty much anyone else on the roster. Zetterberg might be able to hold down a second line center spot for another year and give reasonable production (50-ish points) but does anyone want to put money on that? Sheahan’s production rate has slipped each of the his three seasons in the  NHL, and he was never a huge producer in lower leagues, so generating offense is probably something we shouldn’t have a huge expectation of. Which leaves Athanasiou.

Is it worth buying some long term changes on the wing if we are unsure of how good our centers are? And how much could better wings help make our centers look better? For instance, instead of putting Abdelkader and Nyquist on Larkin’s wing, but what about if those wings were Lucic and Okposo? The second group looks a lot better, doesn’t it?

If we think that Larkin, Athanasiou, and Sheahan can hold down the center spots in our top9, it wouldn’t be nuts to throw our money at a couple of quality wings. It would also be the easiest way to inject size and physical play into the top9, things the Wings seems to want to add. If the Wings don’t have faith in Athanasiou and Sheahan being long term answers at center, though, and we miss on Stamkos, we might as well just sit on our cash and let the year play out. Hopefully guys we don’t expect to be long term answers for us would increase their trade value so we can go out and get the pieces we would want.

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