We continue our profiles with the first of two London Knights in Andreas Athanasiou. The youngster from Mississauga had a somewhat underwhelming campaign that probably had more to do with a ridiculously balanced London Knights team than his skill level. Athanasiou put up 22 goals in 63 games with the Knights this year, one of five players on the team to reach that total, but also finished the year with a very impressive plus-22 rating.
Athanasiou is no stranger to big games in his young career having played in the OHL playoffs with the Knights in each of the last two years, as well as winning gold with Team Ontario at the 2011 U17 World Hockey Championships.
Weight: 179 pounds
Position: Center/Left Wing
Born: August 6, 1994
What People In The Know Know
The London Knights left wing is one of the fleetest prospects in the class of 2012 and has skill to complement his speed. However, the Woodbridge, Ont., native knows he still needs to sharpen his on-ice vision in order for his production to match his potential.
The fact the Knights are going with Athanasiou on their top unit attests to his high upside. With six 20-goal scorers, coach Mark Hunter and company have plenty of arrows in their quiver, including 41-goal scorer Seth Griffith and Boston Bruins prospect Jared Knight. Yet they’re eager to see how Athanasiou, who projects to be a first or second-round pick after being ranked 24th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting last month, responds by being on the big line.
Andreas Athanasiou is a very good, smooth skating forward. He has the ability to create time and space for himself with his speed.
He has tantalizing speed, skill, vision and creativity, but most who viewed Athanasiou are left wanting.
“On a team like that with all those skilled players, I would personally say he underachieved,” said one scout. “He’s skilled and he’s an incredible skater, but for a kid with that many tools, not enough gets done.”
If rankings were based on skill alone, Athanasiou would be a sure fire first-rounder, but his tentativeness makes him a borderline top-30 selection who could tumble to the middle of the second round.
Scouts want him to take his skills and speed to less comfortable areas of the ice.
“He finishes far too many plays with fade-away jump shots,” said another scout. “With his tools, if this guy wanted to drive the net, it’s minimum a minor penalty.”
Also He Can Do This
Athanasiou undoubtly has the hands and the speed to reach his potential but there is still question as to whether or not he will. The thing to keep in mind is that he is still very, very young and there is plenty of time for him to develop what he is lacking.
Athanasiou is currently ranked 40th amongst North American skaters by Central Scouting so expect a mid-second round pick here. Unless a team develops a desire to be on Sportscenter a lot. If this is the case, he could find himself moving up the draft very quickly.