Training camp is opening up around the league and teams are getting a young at the progress of their young players. The Detroit Red Wings Prospects have been busy winning the Traverse City tournament earlier in the week. Keep in mind it is a tournament against other rookies, but the signs should be encouraging. Good news hasn’t been exactly been coming the last few seasons for the team.
Detroit Red Wings Prospects Shine
Joe Veleno was the standout for the event with seven goals, including two in the final. He and Givani Smith each recorded a pair of goals in the final. Veleno’s tournament was a continuation of his great season in the QMJHL with the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
He posted 42 goals and 62 assists for 104 points. The Montreal native performed well at juniors and will look to leave an impression on the coaching staff.
The German was the sixth overall pick of the NHL Draft and some questioned general manager Steve Yzerman. However, the young defenceman has become a fan favourite in just a short time. Seider may only be 18 years old, but he played with the edge of a grizzled veteran.
He threw his weight around and wasn’t afraid to jaw with with fellow No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach of the Chicago Blackhawks. The six-foot four-inch blueliner was also very physical in the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs prospects. He was tough in the corners and had some nastiness in his game.
He’ll fight for time in the main camp, but is eligible to play in Grand Rapids of the AHL. This would allow him time to adjust to the North American game.
The former Princeton University player had three goals and five assists for Detroit in the tournament. He ended this collegiate career with 75 goals, which is the most in program history.
The Ottawa native signed immediately after his college career ended in March and played in 10 games for the club at the end of the season. Kuffner didn’t register a point in any of those games and may start the season in Grand Rapids. However, this tournament will give him a little shot of confidence.
Smith netted three goals for the team and was part of a strong line with Chase Pearson and Jarid Lukosevicius. Pearson got a hat trick in the 7-4 victory over the Leafs. Sean Romeo filled in to play goal for the team.
What it Means for the Future
It may be tournament full of young players, but the win is still important. Detroit will rely on their young players the next couple of seasons as it tries to clear some of the bad contracts of the books.
Players like Veleno, Seider and others could be the future of this team and this success will be something they can hopefully build from.
VICTORIA , BC – DECEMBER 19: Joe Veleno #9 of Team Canada skates with the puck behind the net versus Team Switzerland at the IIHF World Junior Championships at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on December 19, 2018 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Canada defeated Switzerland 5-3. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)