The Detroit Red Wings have some young talent that will be developing on the roster of the Grand Rapids Griffins. Two standouts – Joe Veleno and Lucas Raymond – will be vying for roster spots as early as training camp.
Joe Veleno is the young prospect most likely to finally force his way onto the roster this season (Other than Moritz Seider, who’s essentially a lock at this point). He’s currently battling Mitchell Stephens (And possibly a few others) for the fourth line center position.
Steve Yzerman has said repeatedly that Veleno will need to earn his spot on the roster.
Veleno seems to be taking that pretty seriously.
Although his SHL season was a bit average (11 goals and nine assists in 46 games), Veleno looked quite comfortable in the handful of games he played with the Red Wings last season. He even managed to nab his first NHL goal in that time.
Add to that an offseason of training and improving strength and endurance, it seems that Veleno’s appearance on the main roster this year will not be a question, but an inevitability. He’ll likely start his season with the Griffins, but don’t be surprised if Veleno makes the leap to the main roster sooner than expected.
Detroit fans aren’t the only ones high on Raymond’s potential this year – Vegas is also setting expectations high for the young Swede’s upcoming season:
That’s right, Detroit own Raymond has the second best betting odds in the NHL to win the Calder Trophy in his first season in North America.
However, Raymond still needs to prove himself in Grand Rapids and/or training camp before making it to the NHL. Like Veleno, Steve Yzerman has said that Raymond needs to prove himself before he’s handed a spot on the Red Wings.
Raymond has the raw talent to do just that. Even a disappointing season in the SHL (Six goals ant 12 assists in 36 games) couldn’t slow down the hype train surrounding the young playmaker.
The absence of experience on North American ice means Raymond is likely to begin 2021 in the minors (Although an impressive training camp or prospect tournament could change that).
However, once he’s acclimated, Raymond will be one to keep an eye on. Yzerman thinks he’s close to NHL ready – if he needed another full year of development, he probably would’ve received the Seider treatment and played another full season in Sweden. By keeping him so close to home, Yzerman is leaving the door to the main roster wide open for Raymond – he just has to prove himself to get there.