The Detroit Red Wings have been building towards a future where forward Joe Veleno is still a vital piece to the puzzle. The days of hoping that he will be a top-tier forward and play on the top line may be in the past, but he can still be of benefit to the rebuild.
The Detroit Red Wings will have to reassess exactly where he fits in, but one thing is certain, he needs to do better to stick with the organization moving forward. There’s going to be plenty of room to improve for Veleno, and in 2022-23, he has to be better, no question about it.
In the first round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, the Red Wings took their chance on the QMJHL product. This was back in the Ken Holland era, but even Steve Yzerman kept Veleno around as there were high hopes he could benefit the team greatly.
As the Red Wings start to piece together the 2022-23 season roster and see where players will fit, Veleno deserves a chance to slot in with the bottom six. He may not be turning heads or be a top-of-the-line scorer but can still serve a purpose for this Red Wings team.
Detroit Red Wings forward Joe Veleno needs to improve in 2022-23.
Though he made his debut in 2020-21, Veleno got a chance to stick with the Red Wings in 2021-22, logging 66 games. He managed just eight goals and seven assists for a total of 15 points on the season. It’s a rough performance, even for a rookie like Veleno, who logged just five games played in 2020-21.
It’s a tough start to the career, but the forward still has promise. The tools he has shown are still legit, he’s quick, skates very well, and can do a lot with open ice, but the results have not always been there. After a year of the NHL under his belt, there has to be some hope that he can settle into a bottom-six role with the team.
If Veleno can find a way to bring value to the Red Wings’ forward core, he will find a way to stick with this team. As they continue to build towards a post-rebuild reality, this is one of the things that would be helpful for them as Veleno will be a cheap player that they could keep around.
I like to think that Veleno will iron things out, but things are certainly not the most hopeful. With a new coach, there is some upside coming. Whoever takes over as the bench boss may be a better fit for Veleno and allow him to start showing the player that he can be.
If not, the Red Wings are going to have to start figuring out what to do with Veleno and think about if he really fits with the organization. He still has time and will get chances in 2022-23, but Veleno has a long road ahead of him with improvements that need to be made.