Photo Credit: TVAsports

First Round Targets: JOE VELENO

Being one of the few players that have gotten the CHL’s Exceptional Status, Joe Veleno looks to be not on the same level as his exceptional peers but is still projected to be a very good NHL centerman.

Certainly not in the same realm as fellow exceptional centermen McDavid or Tavares, but Veleno can provide comfort to a team that needs stability down the middle.

At 6’1″ and 194 lbs, Veleno won’t be a pick that a team makes to sacrifice size for skill. Known to have extraordinary vision on the ice, Veleno is mainly a playmaking forward but is not scared of taking the chance to score himself.

He is a remarkable skater and can play anywhere on the ice; controls the game defensively and plays a strong transition game. He can be depended on to make the right play.



Clearly, his move to Drummondville was much-needed. After being drafted 1st overall in the QMJHL by the Saint John Sea Dogs and playing two full seasons there, Veleno was traded in the middle of last season to the surging Drummondville Voltiguers.

After the move, he was able to raise his points per game from just 1.00 to 1.45, surely boosting his draft stock at the same time.

His assists aren’t easy ones either. In primary points (goals+primary assists), Veleno is ranked 3rd among all under-18 forwards in the QMJHL, just behind likely top-5 pick Filip Zadina, and 2020 Draft-eligible wunderkind Alexis Lafreniere.

Veleno also ranked just 9th among all QMJHL forwards in raw primary assists; he can be one of the best passers in the draft this year. If you file that stat down to just under-18 year-olds, Veleno is ranked 1st. The next-best forward in that category has a whole nine less primary assists than Veleno, the same number between 2nd and 13th.

The difference between Veleno and second-highest forward in primary assists, is almost double to the amount that Red Wings pick Adam Marsh got all season.

Eye Test

Not having a cheesy, butt-rock song played in the background of these highlights is the best thing about this video. That and being able to see Joe Veleno’s talent on the ice.

You can always tell that Veleno is looking for the open man; to make the skillful pass and not be the one taking the shot. But when he does need to shoot, he’s not afraid of getting that rare goal.

Fit With The Red Wings

Veleno is in a tricky spot. He would be seen as a reach to draft him with the 6th-overall pick, but he won’t fall to the next batch of picks the Red Wings have at 30th-36th overall.

The Wings could possibly draft him if they were to trade down from 6th-overall, to maybe around 10-15th overall – while acquiring additional picks or prospects along the way.

Veleno would instantly become the Red Wings best forward prospect and would make the future of this team not as bleak as it is at this very moment. Any team should be salivating if he drops to their pick in the mid-first round, but I doubt he gets close to that. But hey, look at where likely Calder Trophy-winner Mat Barzal was projected and where he was drafted, some teams just don’t want to draft that skillful centerman.


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