The Detroit Red Wings have been better. There’s no doubt about that. While they’re still in the midst of a rebuild and have some ways to go, seeing Joe Veleno in the lineup means that help is arriving with an infusion of promising younger players.
Taken late in the 2018 NHL draft, Veleno fell into Detroit’s lap and Ken Holland snapped him up. HIgh on Hockey IQ, and defensively responsible, the only question mark was if the young forward would be able to score goals at a higher clip. Would he slot in a top line center or would he be more of a bottom six?
Along with Filip Zadina, Veleno promised to be one of the more exciting prospects the Red Wings had if everything came together. After adjusting to the AHL last season, Veleno had a strong showing in the SHL.
Now, he’s here.
Veleno Injected Energy in his Red Wings Debut
The speed displayed in his scouting report and shown both in Grand Rapids and the SHL was right on cue with the Red Wings Tuesday night. Veleno had a terrific scoring chance early, and made a couple solid defensive plays, one of which led to that Grade A chance.
He was noticeable, brought energy, and had 14 minutes of ice time in regulation. He even had a shift in overtime.
Veleno Shows the Rebuild is Progressing
Development did its job. Veleno did his. So, too, did Holland. It was crucial as the playoff streak crumbled and the team’s chance at contending caved in that Holland couldn’t afford to miss on the 2018 Draft. No one knew Yzerman was stepping away form Tampa just months later. It seemed years off until the Captain would return. So the draft that Holland had, which also included Jonatan Berggren, was one of the few glimmers of home as the rebuild storm clouds gathered.
Veleno making this team with Yzerman in charge is a great sign. As we saw with the Anthony Mantha trade, no one is untouchable. The days of blind loyalty are gone.
With Veleno playing his first game in Detroit, here’s hoping its one many more.
It’s could be another glimmer of hope that causes those storm clouds to finally dissipate.