The Detroit Red Wings sent Joe Veleno back to the Grand Rapids Griffins Thursday. It may be more to help the Griffins than Veleno.
The Griffins have lost six in a row and seven out of their last eight. The hope is Joe Veleno can perhaps add a spark to get them headed back in the right direction. Riley Barber, one of the Griffins’ top forwards, has been out with an injury. Grand Rapids plays the Ontario Reign Friday and Saturday.
Jonatan Berggren, one of the Red Wings’ top prospects, has gone five games without a point. He’ is -6 in those games. Veleno and Berggren played together briefly in the Traverse City Prospect Tournament.
The Red Wings are off for the NHL All-Star break. They don’t play again until Wednesday when they are at Philadelphia.
On Wednesday, Veleno ended an 18-game goalless slump with a tally against the Los Angeles Kings. He has four goals and two assists in 31 games with Detroit. He’s been playing just over 13 minutes per game. This gives Veleno an opportunity for more playing time on a scoring line, maybe even the power play.
Veleno is expected to be recalled by Red Wings before they return to action. However, the Red Wings are going to start getting players back from injury later this month. Veleno is vulnerable for demotion because he still has options. The Red Wings are still hoping he will develop into a scoring forward.
At worse, the thinking is that he could be an effective third line player who might score 10+ goals per season. Veleno had three goals in seven games when he played for Grand Rapids earlier this season. He also 11 goals for Malmo RedHawks in the Swedish Hockey League in 2020-21. He netted 42 goals in 59 games in his last season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.