The Athletic’s Max Bultman has issued 11 observations from the Red Wings’ prospect tournament. Among them:
How do you start with anyone but Joe Veleno, after the Red Wings’ 2018 30th overall pick scored two crucial late goals to tie and then take the lead against Dallas in Tuesday’s final, then sprung a lead pass to Givani Smith on an insurance goal that became the eventual game-winner.
Veleno, after a summer of work in Detroit, arrived at the prospect tournament looking like a complete player and displayed a quick release that led him to seven goals for the tournament. Not only did that give him the tournament scoring title by a three-goal margin, it’s the most goals by a single player at the tournament since Pointstreak began tracking its stats in 2007. And that would still be true if you took away Veleno’s empty-netter on Monday against Toronto.
“We worked on trying to make his release quicker, we worked on trying to help him change the angle a little bit more and add a little bit more deception to his shot,” said Red Wings director of player development Shawn Horcoff on Monday morning. Player development consultant Brandon Naurato “was great with that — he’s very good in those instances — and I think it showed. He scored some really nice goals here so far.
“But I think the thing I liked the most: He looks more responsible positionally. He’s realizing now that he wants to turn himself into a 200-foot player. We showed him a lot of video clips of a young Larkin and last year’s Larkin, who’s carrying a load defensively. If we’re gonna win, we need Joe Veleno to be an outstanding 200-foot player. He looks more responsible. He’s finishing more checks. He’s got good size, he’s using his body more to his advantage, he’s penalty-killing, which is nice. So I think it’s more the defensive side of the game that we’re starting to see some growth as well, which is huge.”