Former Detroit Red Wings first rounder has taken serious strides in 2023-24

Former first-round pick Joe Veleno has taken his time to get acclimated to the NHL, but now that he’s settling in, it’s been great to see him take strides with the Detroit Red Wings.
Detroit Red Wings forward Joe Veleno (90) speaks to a teammate during a 2023-24 matchup.
Detroit Red Wings forward Joe Veleno (90) speaks to a teammate during a 2023-24 matchup. / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Red Wings forward Joe Veleno may not be in the spotlight often, but he’s another one of those players who has been downright dominant for the team. He’s taken leaps offensively and just overall as a player during his time with the Red Wings organization — it’s started to show in 2023-24.

While it has not always been sunshine and rainbows for Detroit Red Wings forward Joe Veleno, he has been able to make the most of it. It’s taken him time to get where he is today, and it's been a long road to the NHL, but he’s finally made it and has joined the Red Wings roster. It’s been a long time coming, but it is good to see him finding his way.

It’s important to note the team around him has improved a good bit, helping Veleno a ton. He's reaping the benefits by playing with more quality players around him to help make up the forward core. Plus, he’s been able to tap into some offense at times, looking the part of a 100+ point scorer in the QMJHL that he once was.

Sure, the offense could improve, but Veleno’s carved out a role for himself. With Michael Rasmussen earning his four-year extensionand getting locked up long-term, there’s hope for Veleno. He’s only on an $825,000 contract, buthe’s arbitration-eligible after this seasonand deserves to be kept around. Not to mention his part in the locker room.

Detroit Red Wings forward Joe Veleno is finally settling in.

The reality is that Steve Yzerman is working to start locking down his team. The extensions and deals to keep his core together will only help him down the line. He’s a big piece of the puzzle for the Red Wings at this point and seemingly has a significant effect on the room. Plenty of times when players talk about a teammate being a good guy, quirky, funny, etc, it’s Veleno. 

His name seems to come up often, which has to mean something. The Red Wings need to keep this group together. The morale and room are in a good spot, which will only help them down the line. After all, Veleno’s on-ice value has also increased considerably in recent years.

In 2023-24, Veleno has already surpassed his career-best in points. He's played in 53 games where he had ten goals and 13 assists for 23 total points on the campaign. It’s quite the step up from 20 points over 81 games played last season. Plus, he’s still got time to keep adding on. 

For Veleno, it feels like less is more. He's averaging just 13:27 of ice time per game but still finding ways to be effective for this team. It’s been impressive to watch him come into his own with the Red Wings. He’s taken strides and carved out a bottom-six role.

If he can continue to play this well for the Red Wings, he could make an excellent career in the bottom six of this forward core.