Athanasiou will go from healthy scratch to playing on Detroit’s top line
After dropping a 6-4 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning in their regular season opener, the Detroit Red Wings will be making some changes.
The player who benefits the most appears to be Andreas Athanasiou.
Athanasiou will go from being a healthy scratch against the Bolts to jumping on his team’s top line with Frans Nielsen and Henrik Zetterberg.
Last season, the 22-year-old showed good offensive ability and blazing speed when he got into the lineup. The sophomore forward scored nine goals and 14 points in 37 NHL contests.
“I’m not going to stray from my game,” Athanasiou said, per the Detroit News. “I’ll bring speed to the line and open up ice for them. ... We can generate a lot of offense.”
That’s not the only change head coach Jeff Blashill will make ahead of Saturday’s game against the Panthers.
Tomas Tatar will go down to the second line and he’ll play with Dylan Larkin and Riley Sheahan, while Justin Abdelkader practiced on a line with Luke Glendening and Drew Miller.
Veteran forward Steve Ott appears to be the odd-man out.
“We just want to keep, without totally changing things, we want to keep tinkering and trying to just find the best combinations,” Blashill said. “We think we’ve got good depth up front. Let’s tinker as we need to tinker to get the most out of every line.”
On defense, only one pairing will remain the same and that’ll be Jonathan Ericsson and Xavier Ouellett. Danny DeKesey and Mike Green will play together, while Alexey Marchenko and Brendan Smith make up the second pairing.