Forwards Joe Veleno and Elmer Soderblom were stating their cases for spots on the Detroit Red Wings roster during Friday’s 4-2 NHL preseason victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Little Caesars Arena.
In Soderblom’s case, the statement was made vehemently. With Detroit trailing 2-1 in the second period, the 6-foot-8 Swedish rookie winger came dancing off the side boards with the puck, deking through three Maple Leafs checkers before roofing a backhand over the shoulder of Toronto goalie Ilya Samsonov.
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“It is impressive that he has hands in those tight type areas,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “What’s more exciting is that goal came off a forecheck, 25-30 seconds earlier and allowed him to be in that position.
“If he can learn that, trust it more, we’ve seen through camp his puck play’s improved. If someone’s gapped in his face, he trusts putting it in behind them and going and getting it, which is gonna have to happen in pro hockey, especially in North America.”
Veleno’s long shot from just inside the blueline found its way through a screen and into the net midway through the third period to snap the 2-2 tie.
“I want to play my best hockey and show I can play at the NHL level and be consistent at it,” Veleno said. “I think that’s my biggest goal going forward, just being consistent at the NHL level and showing them I can keep up with the NHL speed.”
Red Wings Facts & Observations
- Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice for Detroit. The Red Wings forward has netted three times in three games since returning from a training-camp injury
- Watch to see who is playing in Saturday’s return match at Toronto. “Guys that played tonight that are playing tomorrow, it’ll either be because they need some more reps, or some game action, or we would want to evaluate them again,” Lalonde said.
- The Red Wings suited up 17 NHL players on Friday. Expect it to be a much younger, more inexperienced group that’s playing Saturday in Toronto
- Rookie D Simon Edvinsson isn’t playing Saturday. Friday, he was skating with Filip Hronek in what would be considered a top-four pairing. Edvinsson led the Red Wings with five hits. “I’m impressed that he’s a little harder than I had probably anticipated,” Lalonde said. “He’s willing to be physical and try to get stops, which we’re asking all of our guys to do.”
- Eight players were sent to AHL Grand Rapids on Friday, but none of the cuts were surprising. Going down were forwards Trenton Bliss, Cedric Lacroix, Tyler Spezia, Kirill Tyutyayev and Drew Worrad, defenseman Brian Lashoff and goalie John Lethemon.