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World Juniors

Veleno made available by Red Wings for World Junior Championship

Forward will play four games in AHL before reporting to Canada, which is waiting to hear on Dach, Dobson, Hayton

by Dave McCarthy / Independent Correspondent

OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Joseph Veleno was made available by the Detroit Red Wings on Monday to play for Canada at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic, but he will not join the team until Dec. 18 or 19.

Canada's selection camp runs Dec. 9-12.

Veleno, who was selected by the Red Wings in the first round (No. 30) of the 2018 NHL Draft, will play four more games with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League, where he has nine points (three goals, six assists) in 25 games.

"You'd like your guys to be here, but it's not a priority," Canada head scout Brad McEwen said. "Detroit was gracious enough to allow him to play, and we're thankful for that. He's going to get four games out on the west coast with Grand Rapids, which will only make him a better player when he gets here in Europe on the 18th or 19th."

The 19-year-old forward played for Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, getting two assists in five games but failing to win a medal.

"He's been playing pro so there's maturity in his game. He's been playing good minutes and in all situations, so he's going to come back here a very good player," McEwen said. "He's obviously a good player, but just that experience playing against the older guys in the pro game, he's going to come with really good leadership. He's been in our program so many times and he's been a great leader and mentor for our group. We're really excited he's going to be part of our group moving forward."

McEwen said Canada has not received news on three other eligible players -- Kirby Dach, who was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks with the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Noah Dobson, who was selected by the New York Islanders with the No. 12 pick in 2018 draft, or Barrett Hayton, who was selected by the Arizona Coyotes with the No. 5 pick in the 2018 draft -- but they are willing to be as flexible as possible if any of the three become available.

"No, we're just letting that process move forward," McEwen said. "We're optimistic, but we haven't heard any word. … Those three players being in the NHL, we know how quality they are. We're willing to wait to the last second if that's what it takes."



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