Andreas Athanasiou has three goals on three shots in three games for the Los Angeles Kings so far this season. No, that is not a typo. The forward who once scored 30 goals in Detroit and but struggled with the Edmonton Oilers so they let walk this offseason, is shooting 100% so far in this 2020-21 campaign. It’s great for the Kings, but is this really any kind of insight as to what version of Athanasiou the team actually has on its hands?
Undoubtedly, Athanasiou’s shooting percentage will drop. It has to. Even the best of the best don’t come anywhere close to a fraction to producing at the pace the winger is producing now. So too, over the course of his career, he’s a 12.6% scorer. Thus, one of two things needs to happen if he wants to keep up this pace.
If Athanasiou is going to be a 30-goal scorer again in the NHL — or anything close to it — he’s going to need to start shooting a whole lot more. Or, he’s going to have to maintain his incredible shooting percentage pace. The second option simply isn’t realistic.
It’s a great story that Athanasiou has become just the third player in LA Kings history to score a goal in each of his first three regular-season games with the team. He joins Wayne Gretzky (4 GP/1988-89) and Bill Lesuk (3 GP/1971-72) as the only players in Kings franchise history to do so. It’s especially great to see him producing after he was unable to do much of anything during a short stint with the Oilers and as free agency almost came and went without him being signed.
Make no mistake, we hope he can keep producing.
Get Ready for Reality
Our best wishes for Athanasiou aside, when the other shoe drops (and it will), just be ready for it. When the goalies start making saves, let’s hope his production doesn’t completely fall off a cliff.
The real test will come when Athanasiou starts to hit some resistance. If he can adjust when the pucks don’t always go in, fans will have a better idea of what his season will actually look like when the 56 games come and go. If he starts to change as the statistics shift, it will simply be a matter of how he changes and, unfortunately, his history shows that could be a bad, or a good thing.
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