The NHL trade deadline is approaching on February 24th and the Detroit Red Wings have some decisions to make. One of those decisions is whether or not to keep Wing Andreas Athanasiou. Athanasiou is one of the better goal scores currently on the Red Wings roster and could be their best option at building draft capital. The winger is still just 25 years old, so it creates a interesting decision for new General Manager Steve Yzerman.
In a very rough season for the Red Wings, there have been very few bright spots besides the young players seeing ice time. With only eleven players over thirty years of age this is one of the youngest teams in the league. Red Wings fans are not accustomed to multiple losing seasons, but the direction of the team has been to rebuild. There is a lot of optimism though with former Red Wings captain and now GM Steve Yzerman, leading the efforts. CEO Chris Illitch weighed in on the status of the team on Tuesday:
“Rebuilds are tough, right? Nobody likes to lose. I don’t like to lose, our fans don’t like to lose, our players don’t want to lose. But, I think that what we are looking at and measuring is progress, and I think Steve has settled in incredibly well”CEO Chris Illitch to reporters on Tuesday
With the current status of the team Athanasiou is the player that the Red Wings have to make a decision on. He is young enough to still help and be relevant once the rebuild is complete, but at the same time he is their best chance at gaining a couple of draft picks in the upcoming draft. This essentially will be Yzermans biggest move since taking over.
Once the trade deadline passes we will have a better idea of exactly how long the Red Wings are expecting the rebuild to take. If they keep Athanasiou, it will signify that the Red Wings will plan to be relevant in a couple of season. If they do trade him, I think that means that the Wings are four or five seasons away from returning to the playoffs. So in a way Yzerman is on the clock and lets see what moves he decides to make.