Red Wings: No promises for Veleno

Red Wings: No promises for Veleno


DETROIT | Joseph Veleno played for the Red Wings 66 games last year and for the Grand Rapids Griffins 11 times. Although he has spent the majority of the season in the NHL, the 22-year-old center has still not received the green light to find a home in the land of “Motown”.  

“I've been staying with Jakub Vrana since the start of camp,” Veleno said a few hours before the Red Wings' first game of the season against the Canadiens at Caesars Arena. It was my reality also last year, I didn't really have a home. It doesn't bother me, but I would like not to do the trip between Detroit and Grand Rapids again.

In the short term, Veleno achieved its goal. He landed the job as the team's fourth center, pushing Switzerland's Pius Suter, who played all 82 games for the Wings last year, into the stands.  

“It's important to me, I have to play well every game, recalled the Wings' first-round pick (30th) in 2018. But it's the same for the whole team. We want to make a good impression this year. There is a new coach, there are several new players and we want to see the team improve. »

“There are good players in the stands,” he continued. There is depth on offense. The new coaches have built the training and I am happy to be part of it. I always have to think that this is my last game.

In 66 games last year in Detroit, Veleno had 15 points (8 goals, 7 assists). Now 22, the former Voltigeurs de Drummondville and Sea Dogs de Saint-Jean hope to reach another level on the offensive side. 

“I want to improve my lot in the formation, but there will be stages to respect. I will have to play well and deliver consistent performance. The coaches will look at me and they will make choices. I will dictate my place in this formation according to my game on the ice. »

Minutes above all

When asked about Veleno's place within his team, Derek Lalonde described his situation with great frankness. He will stay in Detroit only if he can give him reasonable playing time. 

“We asked him during the preseason games to become a more difficult player to face, explained Lalonde. He must make good defensive plays, be a responsible center. He has talent and skill, but he sometimes opts for risky plays. »

« He won a position for the first game of the season. Joe and Elmer (Soderblom) remain in an evaluation period. They will need to play meaningful minutes in the NHL. If we can't do that, they could go back to Grand Rapids. It might make more sense to give them big roles in the American League. We will judge according to their play at the start of the season. »