And with that, it was difficult to assess what the Oilers really had in the fast flying winger. Oh, and that doesn’t even mention the fact that he suffered from a lower body injury to boot.
Overall, there are major question marks over Athanasiou’s game. He has scored 30 goals in this league, which is no small task, but he is also known for his defensive battles and his often inconsistent play.
So when we try to figure out what to expect from Oilers players this summer, Athanasiou ends up being difficult to project.
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I think Athanasiou will do well against Chicago. They are far from a fast team, so their burner capacity per se will be a valuable asset to the Oilers. He may use his speed on dumps and chases and on entrances to controlled areas.
Athanasiou is also able to participate offensively and has scored 26 points in 55 games this season. I would expect to see him in the Oilers top nine, but it’s hard to know exactly where he will be. Despite that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Oilers give him a shot alongside Connor McDavid once again.
The two are among the fastest players in the NHL and have shown some chemistry alongside Tyler Ennis, the post-transaction deadline. It wouldn’t shock me to see Dave Tippett reunite these three.
Tyler Ennis gets his first goal and Andreas Athanasiou his first pass after being traded to Edmonton and the #Oilers are back in the game. – @ zjlaing pic.twitter.com/7fLbKVH4M0
– Oilersnation (@OilersnationHQ) February 26, 2020
If the Oilers beat Chicago in the first round, I can see Athanasiou moving into a more impactful role for the Oilers. Look, the offensive talent is clearly there and he has been a point contributor to some bad Detroit teams over the past few seasons.
This is saying something in itself, because Detroit has had bad seasons. I think that once he is able to settle down a little more on the ice and build up chemistry, he will turn into a solid offensive threat to the Oilers.
On Twitter: @zjlaing