Red Wings: Joe Veleno could see time in the NHL in 2020-21 season

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

The Detroit Red Wings may get to see Joe Veleno in a winged wheel uniform during the 2020-21 NHL season.

Announcements continue to ring out about the Detroit Red Wings loaning players to get their seasons underway early over in Europe. While Joe Veleno has not been loaned officially, it was rumored that he would start the season with a team in the Czech Republic alongside Filip Zadina.

The two 2018 first-round talents could get some chemistry built up as they continue to work on their road to the NHL roster. While Zadina spent some time with the Red Wings this past year, totaling 28 games with the Red Wings, both players still need some development.

This past season, Veleno spent his time with the Grand Rapids Griffins, after five years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He would score 11 goals, add 12 helpers for a total of 23 points through 54 games in his first tenure with the AHL affiliate.

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He may not have had as much success in the AHL as he did in the QMJHL, but that is expected as the QMJHL can be a little misleading.

Regardless, Veleno was a first-round draft choice who put up 104 points in his final season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Veleno’s jump to the AHL saw the 6-foot-1, 191-pound center start to learn to adapt to the demands of professional hockey.

While he was not incredible or turning heads a ton, he had an exceptional first start in the AHL.

It may not be that crazy to suggest that Joe Veleno could spend time with the Detroit Red Wings in 2020-21 season.

The Red Wings may give Veleno a chance to improve upon his 2019-20 performance, but he may get his chance to make a debut in the NHL. It is not to say that Veleno will become a mainstay in the NHL or even make the club off the rip, but he may get his shot.

After the horrific 2019-20 season, it might be a good time to start phasing in some prospects and seeing what they can bring to the table. One of the things that is holding Veleno back in his chances to make a debut was the fact that he was minus-25 on the season with the Griffins.

Expect that Veleno may begin his season over in Europe if the opportunity still presents itself as the fall and winter progress. Veleno is slated to be one of the Red Wings’ future centers who will help drive offensive production while still playing some two-way hockey.

It does seem that Veleno has lost a bit of his defensive touch, given his minus-25 performance in the AHL. However, would having another player similar to Andreas Athanasiou really be a bad thing?

There is no doubt that a forward who can be effective defensively is a plus. Still, Veleno’s ability to create scoring chances, slip through defenses, and capitalize on opponent lapses to make things happen makes him unique.

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The Detroit Red Wings might use the 2020-21 season to allow Veleno to get his feet wet in the NHL for the first time, it may not be an extended stay, but it could be a small trial basis for the center.