Athanasiou was officially left protected by the Red Wings, meaning he won't be chosen by the Golden Knights in the upcoming expansion draft, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports.

Unlike Detroit GM Ken Holland's decision on whether to protect goalies Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek -- he chose the former -- keeping Athanasiou in Detroit was a no-brainer. Athanasiou arguably has the most upside of any other skater in Motown, self-supported by tremendous hands and speed. Double A has accumulated 43 points in 101 career NHL games, while converting an average of 16 percent of his shots. A breakout season could be on the horizon.

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