2018 NHL draft prospect profile #13: Joseph Veleno

GATINEAU, CANADA - DECEMBER 1: Joe Veleno #9 of the Saint John Sea Dogs skates against the Gatineau Olympiques on December 1, 2017 at Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
GATINEAU, CANADA - DECEMBER 1: Joe Veleno #9 of the Saint John Sea Dogs skates against the Gatineau Olympiques on December 1, 2017 at Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) /

With the NHL entry draft fast approaching, we at the The Canuck Way will leave no stone unturned when it comes to looking at each and every prospect that the Canucks might consider for their selection. Today we look at Joe Veleno, a player that scouts toss and turn over at night thinking about.

Previously on “Living on the Wild Side” we looked at Ryan Merkley, and today we look at another whisky drinker in Joe Veleno. This player has a lot going for him.

In 2015 he was granted exceptional status into the CHL, a feat only accomplished by legendary players like John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, and Sean Day.  He started playing in the QMJHL at a very young age and proved he can be a key contributor then. Not only did he put up solid offensive numbers, he proved that he could play a 200ft game.

While Veleno certainly proved he was capable of playing in the QMJHL, he never scored at a prolific pace like his exceptional status counterparts. This proved concerning in the eyes of some scouts because having the exceptional status label attached to you is potentially damaging, especially if your production doesn’t meet people’s standards. You can see that with the huge divergence in Craig Button’s ranking in the stats section.

In some instances, Veleno tries to do too much just to live up to the hype, which has hindered his on ice performance. When he has played a simpler game, he has been far more effective.

The question for Veleno’s potential suitors is whether he will let the pressure of being an exceptional status player get to him at the pro level, especially if he is not producing offense at a prolific clip.

To answer some of these questions and more, lets look at Veleno’s stat line.

The stats rundown

*Counting stats provided by EliteProspects

Height:185 cm/6’1″

Weight: 88 kg/194 lbs

Birthdate: January 13, 2000

Position: Centre

Handedness: Left

Team (league): Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL), Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)






#12 by Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects)

#27 by Craig Button

#11 by Bob McKenzie (April Rankings)

Saint John3162531

Veleno put up a rather intriguing set of stats. For starters he appears to be more of a passer than a shooter, which is rather interesting. For someone with a great shot and hands, you’d expect that he’d fill the net up more.

Veleno put up 57 assists, which shows that he is an excellent playmaker. However, 31 of those assists came on the powerplay, 51% of his total. .

This is a good balance of production, and his powerplay assist total led the entire QMJHL, showing that he has the ability to find a finisher in his perfect spot.

With a shooting percentage of 10.9 on 201 shots, Veleno has decent goal scoring ability. He has averaged three shots a game, which is a little low for a CHL top prospect. The hope is that whoever selects him will tell him to shoot the puck more.

More from Draft

Scouting reports

Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects:

"A jack-of-all trades player with a nice tool belt. Great edgework, acceleration, vision and puck-protection skills. The now 18-year-old is already a consummate worker in the defensive end and is a very safe selection as he has a pro-level approach. One of the best power play distributors in the CHL."

Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst:

"Although Veleno has an arsenal of weapons to beat you, he’s at his best when he is creating chances for his linemates via deadly accurate passes or plays off the rush. Speed is an important part of Venelo’s game, but he also slows the game down and is more than adept at carving up static defense schemes with quick cross-ice passes or slick maneuvers that present him with open lanes to the net. (…)From a defensive standpoint, Veleno is an aggressive forechecker who finishes his checks, and his quick feet, agility and long reach make him an asset on the penalty kill. He consistently lends support below him own circles and will remain close to his defensemen to assist them in breakouts."

What we think

Veleno reminds us of a Mathew Barzal-lite. They are very similar in terms of skating and passing ability, however Barzal’s offensive production is a little more high-end.

However, we feel that Veleno will turn out to be a solid top 6 center who can quaterback a powerplay on the sideobards a la Nicklas Backstrom.

If we were the Canucks, we would take a pass on him simply because the upside is higher in some of the other players available. In terms of centers, the Canucks are pretty solid with Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, and Adam Gaudette. The Canucks should only take a center in this draft if they feel he has the potential to be a number one.

Next: 2018 NHL draft profile #14: Isac Lundestrom

While Veleno will be a useful player, he does not project as a number one and hence we feel that he is not worth the investment of a seventh overall selection, especially when there are higher end defenceman, which the Canucks desperately need.