Drummondville Voltigeurs Acquire Joe Veleno

Joe Veleno
GATINEAU, CANADA - DECEMBER 1: Joe Veleno #9 of the Saint John Sea Dogs battles for the puck against Gabriel Bilodeau #44 of the Gatineau Olympiques on December 1, 2017 at Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

The Drummondville Voltigeurs have made their intentions known and gotten a head start on loading up at the QMJHL trade deadline by acquiring Joe Veleno. Meanwhile, last year’s President’s Cup winners, the Saint John Sea Dogs have started their rebuild. Veleno goes to Drummondville in exchange for three first-round draft selections (2018, 2019 and 2020) plus two second-round picks. Mikael Lalancette of TVASports was first with the news.

Drummondville Voltigeurs Acquire Joe Veleno

Drummondville is currently the 8th ranked team in the CHL Rankings, and is in fourth place in the QMJHL with a 20-9-2 record so far this season. Veleno, who entered the league as a 15-year-old as the first QMJHL player with exceptional status, is in his third season in the league. It is important to note that he could go to the AHL after his fourth season. The Sea Dogs took him first overall in the 2015 QMJHL Draft. Veleno is eligible for this year’s NHL Draft, and was ranked 10th in our end of November draft rankings.

Veleno put up 40 points in 45 games in his second year of junior hockey. He helped the Sea Dogs to a QMJHL Championship and an appearance at the Memorial Cup. He was outstanding at the Ivan Hlinka tournament with seven points in five games. His performance helped lead Canada to a gold medal. It was hoped this would be the catalyst for a big step forward this year, but that has not happened. He started slowly this season. Veleno picked it up slightly of late and has six goals and 31 points in 31 games on the season.

Scouting Report

Veleno has tremendous speed and outstanding acceleration. It is his skating skill that truly gave him a leg up on older competition and earned him the exceptional player status. However, the offence has not followed to the level of previous exceptional forwards John Tavares and Connor McDavid. Veleno is more of a playmaker than a goal scorer. He has great vision and passing skills. He needs to work on adding muscle to his frame and getting more power on his shot to be a consistent goal scorer.

Joe Veleno is also gritty and not afraid to get involved in battles on the boards at both ends of the ice. He is good on the backcheck and works hard in his own end. His compete level is very high. He could use a bit of work on his positioning. Consistent offence through the rest of the season would help him climb back up the draft boards. He is projecting as more of a solid two-way centre. Veleno needs to show that he has the offensive game to be a franchise player instead of a good top-six forward in the pros.

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