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By the Numbers: Andreas Athanasiou

Speedy forward is now free to take permanent residence on the wing

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

By the Numbers will highlight the Red Wings' on-ice accomplishments in the 2018-19 season. Each week during the offseason, By the Numbers will profile a different player on the team, focusing on his statistical highs. This week we focus on forward Andreas Athanasiou.

Andreas Athanasiou is without question one of the most electrifying players on the Detroit Red Wings.

When he gets a full head of steam and bears in on the opposing goaltender on a breakaway, you can nearly always count it as a goal.

Last season was a defining one for Athanasiou as he took a step forward, emerging as the second-leading scorer on the team.

Coach Jeff Blashill put Athanasiou at center for the last few weeks of the season, much as he did with Dylan Larkin previously.

Athanasiou acquitted himself nicely but executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman felt that his skills were best suited to playing on the wing.

Yzerman signed former Wing and center Valtteri Filppula as a free agent July 1 to allow Athanasiou to move to the wing.

That means Larkin, Filppula and Frans Nielsen will likely be the team's top three centers.

Luke Glendening, Jacob de la Rose, Christoffer Ehn and even Darren Helm could battle for that fourth spot.

Of course, Athanasiou could always return to center on a short-term basis if the forward corps suffers injuries during the season.

Having just turned 25 years old on Aug, 6, Athanasiou is entering his prime and will seek to continue to increase his offensive production while becoming a more consistent two-way player.

30 -- Athanasiou decided that a 20-goal season was nice but a 30-goal season would be even better. For the first time in his career, he hit the 30-goal milestone, almost doubling his 2017-18 total of 16. Athanasiou and Larkin, who led the team with 32 goals, became the first Wings to reach the 30-goal mark since the 2008-09 season, when Marian Hossa (40), Johan Franzen (34), Pavel Datsyuk (32) and Henrik Zetterberg (31) all achieved that milestone. Only 45 NHL players reached 30 goals last season. Washington's Alex Ovechkin led the league with 51 goals.

24 -- In addition to his 30 goals, Athanasiou set a new career high with 24 assists, beating his previous season's total by seven. That was fifth on the team. Larkin led with 41 assists, Gustav Nyquist was second with 33, Tyler Bertuzzi was third with 26 and Nielsen was fourth with 25.

54 -- Athanasiou's 54 points ranked second on the Wings to Larkin's 73. Nyquist was third with 49 points and Anthony Mantha was fourth with 48 points.

76 -- Athanasiou also had a new career high in games with 76, five more than he played in 2017-18. That was tied for third on the team with Larkin. Niklas Kronwall led with 79 games and Glendening was second with 78.

4 -- Among Athanasiou's 30 goals were four game-winners. That tied Larkin, Bertuzzi and Nielsen for the team lead. On Nov. 21 at home against the Boston Bruins, Athanasiou scored his second goal of the game 49 seconds into overtime for a 3-2 win. On Feb. 12 at Nashville, Athanasiou got a rebound at 4:08 of the third period to give the Wings a 3-2 victory. In back-to-back games March 16 at home against the New York Islanders and March 19 at the New York Rangers, Athanasiou scored twice in both, a 2-1 victory over the Islanders and in a 3-2 victory over the Rangers.

200 -- On Dec. 11 at Washington, Athanasiou played in his 200th NHL game, a 6-2 loss. In 18:38 of ice time, Athanasiou had two shots, one hit, one giveaway, one takeaway and was minus-1.

100 -- On Jan. 2 at home against the Calgary Flames, Athanasiou had a goal and an assist in a 5-3 loss. Athanasiou had the lone assist on the first goal of the game, scored by Helm at 13:14 of the first period. At 18:23 of the second, Athanasiou scored on a penalty shot, giving him 100 career points in his 208th career game.

50 -- On Nov. 13 at home against the Arizona Coyotes, Athanasiou scored at 1:44 of the third period, assisted by Helm. The goal was the 50th of Athanasiou's career. It gave the Wings a 5-0 lead en route to a 6-1 victory. Then on Feb. 9 at Buffalo, Athanasiou had the second assist on Larkin's goal in a 3-1 loss. The helper was the 50th of Athanasiou's career.

216 -- For the first time in his career, Athanasiou recorded more than 200 shots. His 216 shots ranked second on the Wings to Larkin's 287.

11 -- Athanasiou was tied for third on the Wings with Nyquist and Thomas Vanek with 11 power-play points. Larkin led with 15 power-play points and Mantha was second with 13.

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