Joe Veleno will be put to the test with Dylan Larkin injured

We're about to see what Joe Veleno is all about as he's tasked with centering Detroit's top line following the injury to captain Dylan Larkin.

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The roller coaster ride has just begun for Detroit Red Wings fans. Only one game is left between now and Friday's NHL trade deadline at 3 pm EST. And for general manager Steve Yzerman, things just got a bit more complicated.

The Detroit Red Wings will be without their best all-around player, with captain Dylan Larkin expected to miss 'roughly' two weeks nursing a lower-body injury. The timing of this injury is, simply put, horrible. The Red Wings are clinging to a six-point lead in the Eastern Conference wild card race as of Tuesday afternoon, tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning with 72 points.

Detroit is currently slotted in as the top wild-card team, and they've got two games in hand. Chasing those two teams are the New York Islanders with 66 points, who beat the Red Wings at home last week, the Washington Capitals (65), and the New Jersey Devils (64). Oddly enough, it's the Devils that the Detroit Red Wings should be most concerned about at this point, especially if they can add a proven goaltender ahead of the deadline.

The injury to Dylan Larkin complicates things for the Detroit Red Wings.

If you're Yzerman, do you stand pat ahead of the deadline and hold out hope that this team can stay afloat? Do you buy cautiously, in terms of a depth defenseman or forward? Do you make a splash and look to add a star like Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, or someone comparable? Or do you sell carefully and hope that the addition-by-subtraction method works?

At this point, I like the addition-by-subtraction method. If Yzerman finds a way to move out Justin Holl, who is signed for two more years at $3.4 million annually (retaining salary will be a must), and replace his roster spot with Simon Edvinsson, it would be regarded as a nice upgrade to Detroit's backend. Detroit could also look to fit in someone like Jonatan Berggren for the stretch run if he isn't traded on Friday, but all indications are that Yzerman is fielding offers for the young prospect who wants to be an everyday NHLer but hasn't been able to maintain that role with Detroit up to this point in his career.

With all of these questions left to be answered, one thing is certain: Joe Veleno will have an opportunity to prove himself over the next couple of weeks. Veleno, 24, is a pending restricted free agent and is the first player slotted in Larkin's spot between Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat ahead of their game in Colorado. Head coach Derek Lalonde has elected to keep the second line of J.T. Compher, Michael Rasmussen, and Lucas Raymond together, promoting Veleno instead.

Veleno is a speedy, creative forward who has spent time on the wing of late but is a natural center. Veleno, a former first-round selection, will have a chance to prove he's worth a Michael Rasmussen-like contract extension if he can drive that top line. Still, he must also focus on being a reliable two-way center between those two offensive-first wingers. Larkin complemented the two wingers nicely with his defensive abilities and authentic offensive prowess.

Veleno has totaled 11 goals and 26 points this season for the Red Wings over 59 games. He's averaged just over 14 minutes of work per night and has maintained a minus-12 rating to go with his 45.6% Corsi For Percentage at even strength.

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