Andreas Athanasiou: “It’s the Perfect Time to Get Hot” for LA Kings

Mar 31, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Los Angeles Kings left wing Andreas Athanasiou (22) celebrates after scoring against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first period of an NHL hockey game at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: John Locher/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 31, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Los Angeles Kings left wing Andreas Athanasiou (22) celebrates after scoring against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first period of an NHL hockey game at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: John Locher/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports /

En route Saturday’s win, Andreas Athanasiou made his mark in an effort to help the Kings make a serious playoff push. But, the time is now.

With the NHL Trade Deadline less than 48 hours away, there comes a palpable sense of apprehension around the league. Who’s staying, who’s leaving, how trades will affect the landscape are just three queries teams ponder when approaching one of hockey’s most anticipated events. The LA Kings are no exception to this, especially given their current predicament where they sit on the fence, so to speak, between buyers and sellers.

Entering Saturday’s contest in San Jose, the Kings were eight points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Division. But, with teams interested in some of the current Kings’ services, Saturday may have been the last hurrah, if you will, for some in a Kings’ uniform. Alex Iafallo has generated interest as of late and, while his name hasn’t been linked to trade rumors per se, pending RFA Andreas Athanasiou being donning the silver-and-black past Monday may not be a guarantee.

For Iafallo and Athanasiou, if they had an increase in trade value on their mind, they showed it.

While Iafallo scored a highlight-reel goal, Athanasiou registered a goal and an assist in leading the Kings to a 4-2 victory and a rare win over the San Jose Sharks — the club’s first win at SAP Center since December 2019.

For the time being, though, Athanasiou isn’t concerned about Monday’s deadline. Instead, he was just happy to be back on a line with Jeff Carter and Blake Lizotte and have success with them. The 26-year-old spoke with the media about this following Saturday’s win.

“I feel like most nights, we’re getting a lot of chances,” Athanasiou said. “We had some really unlucky bounces and unfortunate puck luck, but today, it kind of worked out and you can see that. The chances we did get, we just capitalized on them, so that was a good feeling, for sure.”

One area that the Kings have struggled with this season is consistency or lack thereof. Athanasiou addressed this following Saturday’s win, speaking about all four lines chipping in on a more regular basis.

“I mean, all four lines, we flowed pretty well,” the London, ON, native said of Saturday’s performance. “They all create so many chances.  You know, it’s a little bit crazy how many chances we’ve had and, like, empty nets we missed and the post. But, that’s just the way it goes sometimes, and you kind of just have to work yourself out of it and that was kind of what we did tonight: we just stuck with it and, you know, those bounces went our way tonight.”

While they do pull to within six points of a playoff spot with their win in San Jose, the Kings still have their work cut out for them if they have any chance at making the playoffs this season. This can, understandably, take a toll on a team and its morale. For Athanasiou and company, while the standings can be tough to avoid, it remains a priority for the Kings to keep plugging away while finding, no pun intended, the silver lining in what will be a challenging road ahead.

“We all see the standings, we know what’s ahead of us,” Athanasiou noted. “You know, it’s the perfect time to get hot. So, you never know with the way structure is this year and every team playing each other so much, so it’s the time to get hot and that’s pretty much it. You’ve got to get rolling and that’s it. You’ve got to get hot.”

While he may not be immune to trade conversation, Andreas Athanasiou has at least impressed the Kings a great deal this season. The team is so impressed, in fact, that they have recently opened discussions on a potential contract extension with the former London Knight.

Signed as a free agent to a one-year deal right before the new year, Athanasiou has certainly made the most of his time with the Kings thus far. In 32 games for the silver-and-black, the 26-year-old has nine goals and eight assists. But, it’s not just his scoring touch that has helped the Woodbridge, ON, native out.

Athanasiou has been a tour-de-force for the Kings on the powerplay this season. Of his eight assists, six of them have come with the man-advantage. Additionally, his blazing speed and ability to find open spots on the ice have made the 6-foot-2, 188-pounder extra scintillating to watch on a nightly basis. Heck, he can even drop the gloves — and effectively, too — when necessary,

Wherever they sit in the standings and whatever the circumstances are, the LA Kings are a proud organization that will fight to the bitter end, to keep working hard until the job’s done. Andreas Athanasiou represents this mindset and that is just one of the reasons why he should remain a King beyond Monday’s deadline.

Overall, though, Andreas Athanasiou has taken his brief window as a King and has maximized his time to the fullest. So, even if they do not make the playoffs this season, you can be certain that the LA Kings will be one of the most exciting and intimidating teams to watch in the near future as long as the one they call “Double A” sticks around.