TRAVERSE CITY — Andreas Athanasiou is getting close to fulfilling his dreams.
Two years after the Red Wings made Athanasiou a fourth-round pick in the NHL draft, the 19-year-old London, Ontario native appears to be on the right track that could lead to his ultimate goal of playing in the NHL.
Athanasiou was a late-season call-up to the Grand Rapids Griffins last year, and is hoping to parlay that experience to a shot at the highest level down the line. Among those taking part in the Red Wings Development Camp at Centre Ice Arena, Athanasiou is looking to use his third year at the camp to his advantage as well, not only the hockey aspect of the camp, but the sessions focused on strength and conditioning and nutrition included.
"As you really go on through the years, you really learn what it takes and you learn that every little bit of information that you have, take as much as you can from it," said Athanasiou. "It may be a little bit of information, but it will go a long way. Coming into this year I'm trying to pick up everything — everything the coaches say, strength and conditioning coaches, even when I go to the food seminar I'll be tuned in because I want to get better and be the best.
"It's a good week here. It's a good thing you get right in the middle of summer. You've got that pro hockey feeling again. You've got that feeling of practicing at a high level and we've got the games in, so it's good to get those games in and it takes you a long way. When you come into main camp you've had a little bit of feeling there in the middle of summer."