One forward in, one forward out. Head coach Jeff Blashill said that forward Andreas Athanasiou was ready to return to the team on Monday, according to NHL.com’s Dana Wakiji. However, the team also announced that young forward Filip Zadina will be out for the next two to three weeks after suffering a lower-body injury.
It’s believed that Athanasiou, who has been out since Dec. 29 with a lower-body injury, is expected to join the team and likely will take Zadina’s spot on the first line. Unfortunately for Athanasiou, the 25-year-old forward has struggled terribly this season after posting a 30-goal campaign in 2018-19. He currently has just five goals and 19 points in 36 games, far from the expectations that were set from their speedy forward. The team had hoped he had turned the corner, but now might even be a trade candidate as he will hit restricted free agency this summer and could require a significant payday even with his struggles so far. However, Detroit might still have some time to showcase him, especially if the forward has an opportunity to get first-line minutes for the next few weeks. The Red Wings will have to activate Athanasiou still, but that move may not come until Monday.
As for Zadina, it looks like the injury came Friday during the team’s 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers. However, Zadina played through the injury and played the full game on Saturday. In fact, Zadina broke the 20-minute mark for just the second time in his career on Saturday despite the injury. The timing, however, is disappointing as Zadina has seen an uptick in his minutes, while starting to produce like the player the team drafted in 2018 with the sixth-overall pick. He has five goals over the past 11 games and has established himself as a top-six player on a team that needs scoring.
Wikiji also notes that forward Frans Nielsen is expected to be out Monday with an upper-body injury, but is considered day-to-day.