The Detroit Red Wings have refilled their prospect pool in recent years and that’s showing with the influx of talent on the main roster. However, players like Joe Veleno are waiting in the wings to make the next step.
Veleno has been rolling so far this season with 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points in 20 games. The Drummondville Voltigeurs forward has his club five points in front of the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the Central Division (and the Volitgeurs have a game in hand).
He was seen one of the steals in the 2018 NHL draft as Detroit took him 30th overall. Veleno will likely improve the team’s Stanley Cup odds and factor into NHL betting predictions as he grows as a player.
Joe Veleno Tearing Up the QMJHL
Veleno surprisingly fell down the draft board to late in the first round. He was rated 12th in the Top Shelf Prospect draft board in 2018. The Montreal native completed a very good draft for Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland.
The 6-foot-1-inch pivot has started strong out of the gate. He has been Drummondville’s best forward this season along with Gregor MacLeod. Both players have 23 points, but Veleno leads in goals by one over MacLeod and Nicholas Guay.
The Red Wings draft pick has also been exceptional on special teams as he’s got two power-play goals and three shorthanded tallies. His defensive awareness puts him in a position to score when his team is down a man.
However, he’s also very good at 5-on-5 situations and has a well-rounded game. His scoring touch and passing make him one of the more complete players in the junior ranks. That’s one of the reasons he was the fifth player to be granted exceptional status.
Veleno already has one gold with Team Canada as part of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in 2017. He provided two goals and five assists for seven points in five games.
Team QMJHL selected Veleno to be part of its squad to take on Russia in the CIBC Canada-Russia Series. He’ll get a chance to play in front of his hometown fans on Thursday.
He’s also likely to be part of Team Canada’s World Junior team that will try to successfully defend its gold medal. Veleno will be a key for Team Canada.
Veleno is playing like he wants to be in the NHL next season. Detroit has plenty of young players and presents plenty of opportunities to make the big club.
In the meantime, he gives Drummondville a shot to take a QMJHL title.