Preparing for a busy slate of games during the upcoming week, which begins against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, the Detroit Red Wings are already off to a tough start as they placed forward @Mitchell Stephens on the injured reserve retroactively to Nov. 13.
Stephens, 24, suffered a lower-body injury this past weekend against the Montreal Canadiens, and was ultimately ruled out for the remainder of the contest. Postgame, coach Jeff Blashill provided some insight into the young center’s injury, explaining it’d likely force him to miss extended time.
Now two days later, the extent of his injury will cause the 5’11” forward to be sidelined for at least seven days – the National Hockey League’s minimum requirement for any player that’s placed on the IR.
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With Stephens unavailable, the Red Wings have recalled forward @Joe Veleno from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, where he’s appeared in seven games this season. In the short term, Veleno, 21, is expected to fill in on the club’s fourth line alongside teammates @Sam Gagner and @Carter Rowney.
Since the 6’1″ center has already totaled five NHL games in 2021-22, most recently as Nov. 6, he should be able to make a fairly smooth transition over to the highest level of competition. If he excels, then perhaps the former first-round selection could potentially carve out a regular role with the big club moving forward.
Over his brief time in Detroit, spanning across two seasons, Veleno has played nine career NHL contests, posting two goals, three points, 15 hits, 13 shots on goal, four blocks, three takeaways and a 52.5 faceoff percentage.
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Considering this team is scheduled to play four games in six nights from Nov. 15-20, the left-handed forward should receive a pretty solid run of playing time over this next stretch of games, allowing him to consistently showcase his skills through a decent sample size.
First, Veleno will be tasked with helping the Red Wings extend their winning streak to two games when they visit the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Monday at 7:00 pm ET.