Red Wings prospect Joe Veleno is in the spotlight today at the World Junior Summer Showcase. The Canadian Press already profiled the “exceptional” center this afternoon, and the Detroit News took note of Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin’s take on Veleno’s play…
Veleno, a 6-1, 190-pound center who was selected by Detroit with the 30th overall pick in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft, had a goal and an assist with two shots and was plus one in a 4-1 victory over the United States at USA Hockey Arena on Tuesday.
The native of Kirkland, Quebec is expected to return to the lineup on Friday when Canada faces Sweden at 1 p.m. Veleno and his linemates Kirby Dach and Alexis Lafreniere didn’t play in Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to Finland.
Dach, the third overall pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2019, had two goals and one assist against the U.S. Lafreniere, the projected No. 1 player for the 2020 draft, had one assist as the line combined for six points, eight shots and two power-play goals.
“I thought he looked great,” Martin said. “He was having a little more success in terms of puck battles and the strength that he showed out there. It’s a real credit to the work he’s put in at the gym. He’s had two really good offseasons and he has a chance to play a big role on the Canadian team.”
The Detroit News continues, and Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff noted that Veleno is serving as a mentor for Alexis Lafreniere:
Veleno was the first player in QMJHL history to be granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada, permitting him to play in the league at the age of 15, so much like Lafreniere, he’s been ahead of the curve, always skating against players that were older than him.
“I think it made me a lot more mature as a person, as a player, and obviously looking back at it, it was something I really wanted to be the first one in the QMJHL,” Veleno said. “I guess it doesn’t really matter now at this point in time but yeah, I learned a lot from that, the maturity level from a lot of older players. It made me a better person today.”
It also made Veleno the perfect sounding board for Lafreniere last season when he played for Canada at the world junior championship at the age of 16.
“It shows he’s able to compete at this level,” Veleno said. “It looks like he has no problem on the ice. He’s going to be a hell of a player later on, he already is now. His skill set, his work ethic, I think that’s what makes him, that’s what sets him apart from everyone else.”
Finally, TSN posted a YouTube video in which Mark Masters profiles Veleno and discusses the adversity Veleno overcame over the course of his development: