Red Wings prospect Joe Veleno has spoken with Hockeysverige.se’s Robin Olausson regarding his hopes of translating his time with the SHL’s Malmo Redhawks into a spot with the Red Wings. Here’s a rough translation of his discussion:
“I want to dominate the SHL to earn a spot in the NHL”
Joe Veleno is on site in Sweden and has had his SHL debut yesterday.
Now he hopes that his time with the Malmö Redhawks will be a springboard for him to earn a spot with the Detroit Red Wings in the 2021-22 NHL season.
“I want to come here and show that I can dominate in the SHL, so that I can strengthen my chances for next season, and hopefully earn a spot in the NHL, the 20-year-old Canadian tells hockeysverige.se.
When Malmö went up to play Jönköping, they had a new sniper with them who would play in his first SHL game.
It’s Joe Veleno who has joined them from the Detroit Red Wings organization.
In the 5-2 final against HV71, Veleno played almost 18 minutes, was credited with a on goal, two hits and a minus one.
The Canadian started very briskly, and was really good in the first period, but then lost energy the longer the game lasted. On the whole, however, it was a promising debut for the 20-year-old, who played his first game in seven months.
“I actually felt really good. My skating was all right, I moved my feet well, I was aggressive and played physically,” says Veleno to hockeysverige.se, and he continues:
“I just think it will get better and I will get my positioning out there. When I get into games more [regularly], it will get better here and I bet I’ll be playing better already in the next game. Hopefully the pucks will come to me, too, and I can score a goal.”
How much of a difference did you feel it was compared to the North American hockey you are used to?
“It’s different with the large ice surface out there. You have to skate a lot [more] and there will be shorter shifts. That’s probably the biggest difference. It’s a different game here, guys do not skate around the ice as much here as in the AHL.”
“There are many different players here, just like in the AHL, and it is a really good level of hockey. There are very smart, skilled players here so you have to look around a lot and not underestimate anything.”
SELECTED SHL – BEFORE SECOND LEAGUE
Joseph Veleno, whic is his birth name, came to the Malmö Redhawks earlier this week, after being loaned out from the Detroit Red Wings.
Now he explains how it came about that he ended up in Malmö and Sweden.
“It was only a matter of time before I was loaned out. I was looking for somewhere to play and I wanted it to be in a good league. This simply felt like the best option for me. Sweden is a good country and Malmö is a good organization.”
“It was about the conversations that my agent and Detroit had [engaged in]. They worked together and fought hard to get me here to the SHL. Malmö was very interested and I did not hesitate to make the decision. I immediately said I would come here.”
“I just want to play hockey, and it feels like this will be a good place for development for me; it’s been a long time since I played.”
Unlike several other young prospects, Joe Veleno has been loaned out to Malmö through this year’s season instead of just being loaned out until the NHL’s training camps begin. This is because short-term contracts are not allowed in the SHL.
The 20-year-old had had the opportunity to sign a short-term contract in another league, but he instead preferred to play in the SHL all season.
“To be able to play in the SHL, it needed to be the whole season. No team could take me on a short-term loan. They wanted me all season. The NHL or AHL will probably won’t start until January, or even February, and with the uncertainty around there, it felt best to come here. After this season, I will return to Detroit, or Grand Rapids, and we’ll see what happens,” he says.
“MAYBE THEY CAN TEACH ME A LITTLE SWEDISH”
He won World Junior Championship gold with Canada earlier this winter, and he was drafted as the 30th player in the NHL draft in 2018. He’s thus a great talent that has come to the SHL, and it is a very unusual move for a young North American.
Even if he does not have a set goal for his time in Sweden, he wants to develop as much as possible and play as well as he can.
“Of course, I want to help the team win, so much. I haven’t played in this league before, or on big ice, over an entire season, so it is a big change. I think I will get used to it, and it felt good for me already now I’ve had the first game, and I am sure that it will continue to get better, both for me and for the team. I look forward to winning with these guys, building friendships and maybe even learning a little Swedish.”
“Just getting this experience of playing in Europe I think is good for me, not many young North Americans get to try this.”
Is there something special that you want to develop in your game during the time in Sweden?
“For me, it’s about improving my all-round game. That’s my big goal, and that’s the player I want to be in the NHL, too. I want to be able to play in all situations out on the ice, be good at faceoffs and stable on defense at the same time as I produce points going forward.”
“I think I will learn a lot from being here. It’s a competitive league, so playing here will only push me to fight harder and play better. I think this will be really good for my development.”
“WANT TO PLAY IN THE NHL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE”
Joe Veleno was a hugely talented player who gained exceptional status in the QMJHL, which means that he got to start playing in the Canadian junior league already as a 15-year-old, when you normally need to be 16 years old to play there.
There he had four seasons that were perfectly okay before the big breakthrough came, the season after he was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings. Then he scored a total of 42 goals and 104 points in only 59 games, which led to playing AHL games.
In Detroit’s farm team Grand Rapids Griffins, there were 23 points in 54 games for Veleno [last season].
Now he hopes that his career path will continue upwards. From QMJHL to AHL, and, via the SHL, to NHL, as he aims to take a step to the world’s best hockey league next season already.
“Absolutely. That’s my big goal, and I want to play in the NHL as soon as possible. I want to come here and show that I can dominate the SHL to strengthen my chances for next season, and hopefully earn a spot in the NHL. I will work very hard to improve my game to prepare for the NHL.”
“At the same time, I do not want to be selfish, but I want to help the team a lot. If it goes well for the team, it usually goes well for the individual as well. If I can help the team win, it will be very good for my own development as well,” concludes Joe Veleno .