Joe Veleno is a man alone on an island in the sense that he’s the lone returning player with the Detroit Red Wings organization absent a signed contract for the 2023-24 NHL season.
If that’s proving bothersome to the 23-year-old center, Veleno is doing a spectacular job of disgusing his concern. Publicly, he’s giving off an Alfred E. Neuman-like ‘What, me worry?’ vibe in regards to the entire scenario.
The fact that it’s mid-August would suggest that time is running out to reach common ground prior to Detroit’s mid-September training camp date. From Veleno’s calm demeanor, he’s of the belief that time is still on his side.
“We continue to negotiate and that is our situation,” Veleno told Jean-Christophe Bertrand of RDS.ca. “We hope to have an agreement soon.
“There’s no rush as I’m the only player left to sign in Detroit. We will take it day by day and we will see.”
— Brian Fisher (@BrianFisherWWJ) January 20, 2023
Last season was his first full campaign in the NHL and Veleno was turning in career highs in all departments. He established personal bests in games played (81), goals (nine), assists (11) and points (20).
“I think last year I took another step in my game,” Veleno said. “I improved in a lot of aspects of my game. I worked on what they told me and I want to continue to grow next year.
“I feel like I can be on yet another level. It’s a big year for me and I’m ready for what’s to come.”
Veleno Finds Red Wings Offseason Movement Exciting
Adding players such as Christian Fischer, Shayne Gostisbehere, Daniel Sprong, Justin Holl and J.T. Compher via free agency and Alex DeBrincat and Jeff Petry through the trade market, Veleno is off the belief that the Red Wings are firmly positioning themselves in the role of playoff contender.
“We want to be competitive and I think we’re close for the playoffs,” Veleno said. “We were a surprising team last year. There have been additions of veterans, we continue this year to add a little more depth and a star with (Alex) DeBrincat.”