Detroit Red Wings: Recapping Joe Veleno and his first AHL season

(Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
(Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Red Wings drafted forward Joe Veleno in 2018, but this past season he found himself in his first season with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL.

Since the American Hockey League (AHL) is expected to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 season, now is a good as time as ever to look at Detroit Red Wings prospects and their seasons. Take a look at forward Joe Veleno and his first season in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The youngster is a 2018 first-round draft pick who spent the 2018-19 season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). After posting 104 points with forty-two goals and sixty-two assists over fifty-nine games played, he was given the call to the AHL.

While with the Griffins, Veleno would play in fifty-four games on the shortened season due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Before the season was suspended and soon to be canceled, Veleno potted eleven goals and added twelve assists for twenty-three points.

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However, the success on offense comes with a minus-twenty-five plus/minus rating. Veleno spent his first season in the AHL as the sixth top scoring forward on the roster.

Among true prospects in that grouping, only winger Evgeny Svechnikov had more points than Veleno at twenty-five.

Looking at his past before the AHL, Veleno was mostly a pure offensive threat, lacking the items that make him a true two-way forward.

Veleno has had to spend the first year in the AHL trying to develop that part of his game to make sure that he becomes the centerman the Red Wings are hoping for.

It seems that Veleno has been making strides in his game, but that development is on hold with the pause in the season. Veleno has been able to fine-tune his defensive game, getting more reps in the critical situations as a defender and on the penalty kill.

Griffins coach Shawn Horcoff noted that Veleno was making a good push in the second half of the year with his defensive development. He got better and was making strides, but since the season is most likely to be canceled, this becomes the end of his season.

After a season where he looks to have gotten through some of the bumps of the transition, it was a positive thing. If all goes well, Veleno should be able to be a force in his second year and keep making improvements as a two-way forward for the Griffins.

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Furthering that hope, Veleno should get his first trial run at the Detroit Red Wings roster next season, or at least show a glimpse of what he will offer.