The Oakland Press’s Pat Caputo feels that center Joe Veleno may be something of a “forgotten man” among the Red Wings’ prospect corps. Caputo suggests that Veleno is in fact integral to the Red Wings imminent future:
Defense is an obvious need for the Red Wings, but so is center. Dylan Larkin is a No.1 center. That’s obvious. But who is the No.2 in the future?
And most legitimate Stanley Cup contenders essentially feature a 1 and 1-A at center. Strength down the middle is every bit as vital as defense.
The classic examples: The Red Wings most recent Stanley Cup title teams with Yzerman and Sergei Federov, followed by Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
The Red Wings opened their annual developmental camp Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena. Going through a litany of drills with other prospects, it’s clear Veleno is far more advanced most of the others.
He was supposed to be selected the middle of the first round in 2018, but dropped to 30th where the Red Wings grabbed him with a selection they acquired by trading Tomas Tatar to Las Vegas.
The choice did not have the hype of flashy winger Filip Zadina dropping to the Red Wings at sixth overall in the same draft. Veleno hasn’t seen extensive time in the NHL like recent other recent Red Wings’ first-rounders Zadina, Michael Rasmussen and Dennis Cholowski.
But he is just as important to the Red Wings’ future given the lack of potential high-end centers in their prospect pipe line.