Joe Veleno has been spectacular so far for the Drummondville Voltigeurs. In his first 23 games of the season he has scored 16 goals to go along with 21 assists. He’s scoring at 1.6 points-per-game and is on pace to destroy his total of 79 points last season by 30 points.
The Detroit Red Wings found themselves with a steal of a pick at #30 in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Many thought he’d be long gone by then, and his performance at the Wings training camp proved that maybe he should’ve been. He was one of the last cuts. He could potentially be NHL ready today, but the Wings have history of sending their prospects back to work on fine-tuning various parts of their games. It won’t be long before he makes the jump to the NHL, as he’s already proven that he’s too good for the Q.
Veleno has already shown his superior speed and strength this season on several occasions. He’s danced around defensemen and put not only himself in scoring positions, but has attracted defenders to open up his teammates for offensive opportunities in the process. He has shown his superior hockey IQ consistently throughout the young season so far. He has smooth hands and great finish. He’s had an up and down season so far, riding both hot and cold streaks. In his last 4 games he’s scored 5 times to go along with 9 assists for 14 points after notching just 2 points in the 5 games previous to that.
2018-19: 23GP, 16G, 21A, 37PTS (1.6PPG)
2018-19 Pace: 68GP, 47G, 62A, 109PTS (1.6PPG)
2017-18 – 68GP, 22G, 57A, 79PTS (1.2PPG)
Veleno was chosen to represent team QMJHL in the recent Russia series as well.
There aren’t too many parts of his game that needs a lot of work, but further development will help him become a solid two-way player at the pro level and will be an important cog in the NEFHL Bruins lineup for years to come. Looking back at this past June’s NEFHL entry draft, I moved up to the 10th pick to swipe Veleno. There are some good prospects that I left on the table, but Veleno was always in my top 3 going in and was the only one left at that point.
I fully expect him to make the Wings out of camp next season.
Other notables from the 2018 draft:
Benoit-Olivier Groulx (QMJHL) 22GP, 14G, 14A, 28 PTS (chosen for Team QMJHL vs Russia)
Bode Wilde (OHL) 19 GP, 5G, 15A, 20 PTS
Giovanni Vallati (OHL) 25GP, 4G, 10A, 14PTS (chosen for Team OHL vs Russia)
Ryan McLeod (OHL) 21GP, 6G, 18A, 24PTS (chosen for Team OHL vs Russia)