Canada’s captain at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, he was a sparkplug for the team as he never stopped moving his feet or competing despite being one of the more skilled players on the team. Veleno’s hard work paid off with plenty of scoring opportunities and he constantly showed off his vision with crisp passes right on teammates’ tape.
Veleno’s character and leadership are highly valued at the junior level as he was also captain of the Saint John Sea Dogs this season before being traded to Drummondville, a rare honour for draft-eligible players in the CHL. An all-around center who can play against the other team’s top offensive players, Veleno has seen his stock drop through 40 games this season as he had still not hit double digits in goals, and the hope was that when he moved to a team with more offensive firepower that he would finally start showing a finishing touch at the junior level.
NHL Scouts Comments
Aug., 2017 -He is like a Crosby-type of guy. Effort, compete and all that is there. He doesn’t have that acceleration that guys like Marner and McDavid have, more of a power type skater…he’s got good balance and power.Thick and got good knee bend. He’s probably the second-best forward in the draft. He’s probably the fourth best prospect in the draft. Veleno, Tkachuk and Hughes are right there.
Oct. 3, 2017 – I really like him. So far I don’t have him as a top-end dynamic player. I like him and I’m not saying he won’t be a top pick. I’m not using him in comparison to the other players who got exceptional player status at a young age..he knows he’s not as good as all the other guys who came before him. I’m looking at him right now as maybe a third-line center and hopefully he gets to second-line center upside. I’d like to see a lot more than I did there. But I certainly like what he is..he’s a hard worker, he’s a good kid, he’s got skill, he’s smart. I wouldn’t call him dynamic but he’s certainly efficient. I think he’s got good defensive instincts along with his offence, so there’s some things to like there. I’ve watched him now for three years..and I’ve always kind of liked him..but I’ve always waited for that dynamic play where you go “okay..here we go. This guy’s got something more than I thought.”
He sees it…I just want to see him be able to break it down himself once in awhile. But he’s got really good sense. I really like him..I hope he’s a top pick. I’m thinking he’s a top ten, and I’m hoping he’s a top-two center upside.
Veleno’s got no one to play with..Safin..who is so f888ing soft. But he’s not playing with a whole lot of intensity, he wasn’t great. You know how he played in the first couple of games that the Ivan Hlinka where he was pretty quiet, and then he got better…that’s how he looked. He shows you flashes, but he almost looked like he was going ‘This is useless…who have I got to play with?’
His feet looked good, he’s sound defensively, he’s certainly a pass-first guy…I wish he’d shoot more. His skating is good, his skill is good..he just doesn’t have a whole lot to play with on that team.
He’s a good player but he can’t go drifting around and play that game where you go in spurts. I know it’s frustrating for him with no one to play with..but he’s not number four right now after that game last night…but I get the talent.
You look at last year..he made that team better. They were young…had about eight guys who were 99’s and he made all of them better. Even though he’s a good player..he had a lot of great support there for two years. Now they’re gone. Now he’s gotta learn to be the guy; we’ll see if he can.
Dec. 4, 2017 – People are going to be down on him, but he had no supporting cast in Saint John. I’ve seen his story too many times…Brandon Saad his draft year fell off the map. People have seen him for so long..he’s having a down year people are going to penalize him too heavily.
Jan. 17, 2018 – He’s got six goals..you like his game, but his upside is limited because he’s not going to score. Can he fulfil the obligations of being a number-two center? He’s a good player, but you also want to see play driving and goal scoring. I think he sees the ice pretty well. He’s not outsmarting everybody but he just plays a good solid two-way game..but he doesn’t score. I think he’s had enough time to adapt to the new team.
Jan. 22, 2018 – It’s not about Veleno’s production…watch his skating posture. I was not impressed with Veleno’s skating nor his ability to finesse the puck! Wow, has he dropped off.
Jan. 27, 2018 – He’s going to be a big horse. He’s just scratching the surface.