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Notes: Wings prospect Grewe enjoys agitating and scoring goals

Veleno excited about turning pro, aiming for spot in Detroit

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- Like most European players who don't expect to go in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, Albin Grewe was back home in Sweden during the event.

In the third round, with the 66th overall pick, the Detroit Red Wings selected Grewe, who played primarily for Djurgårdens IF J20 in SuperElit last season.

"It was so fun," Grewe said on the second day of development camp at the BELFOR Training Center. "I was home, watching TV and saw they drafted me. I was so happy.

"I didn't know that they would draft me. We hadn't talked to each other so much, just at the combine and some time in Sweden, too."

Although Grewe said he doesn't know a lot about the Red Wings, he does know about their Swedish connection.

"I know they had great Swedes," Grewe said. "(Niklas) Kronwall, (Nick) Lidstrom, (Henrik) Zetterberg. Many good players from Sweden."

In fact, he heard from one of those guys soon after he was drafted.

"I got a message from Kronwall," Grewe said. "'Welcome to Detroit, looking forward to meeting you.'"

While Kronwall is back home in Sweden contemplating whether to play another season for the Wings, Grewe is enjoying his time at camp.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Good morning from day 2 of camp! #DRWDC

"It's so fun to be here," Grewe said. "I always watched Detroit when I was a younger kid. I liked the Swedes, Zetterberg, Kronwall, all the good Swedes here, so it's fun to be here."

Grewe grew up admiring fellow Swede Peter Forsberg, but since Forsberg has retired, Grewe said he enjoys watching Boston's Brad Marchand.

"I've always played as I do, and then I also watched Brad Marchand," Grewe said. "Power forward, I like to score goals, I like to go under my opponents' skin, too. I like to hit my opponents. Stuff like that."

Defenseman Gustav Berglund, the Red Wings' sixth-round pick, 177th overall, said Grewe definitely has a reputation back in Sweden.

"He's a competitive guy and likes to get under opponents' skin," Berglund said. "He likes to get opponents angry and then score some goals."

Grewe's coach at Djurgårdens, Robert Ohlsson, had a quote about his player that went somewhat viral last year when he said, "(Grewe) is at the top of the food chain, a T-Rex, eats everything and thinks everything is under him."

"He said it once in an interview but now it's a nickname for me, so it's funny," Grewe said.

With Djurgårdens IF J20, Grewe had 13 goals and 21 assists in 25 games.

"I think I'm a great goal scorer and I can pass to my teammates for good chances, too," Grewe said. "I think that's my best part. I think I have this combination of physical play and score goals."

Grewe said he plans to play in Sweden next year, most likely for Djurgårdens' Swedish League team.

SECOND TIME AROUND: While everything is new to Grewe, it's all familiar to Joe Veleno.

Veleno, the Red Wings' first-round draft pick, 30th overall, in 2018, took the lead on some drills in the early going.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Nice little run for @jveleno91 on the @PEPHockey track. #DRWDC

"I know more or less what's going on with the camp," Veleno said Tuesday. "I'm more familiar with all the drills and all the activities going on. It feels nice to be one of the older guys and I guess show some of the younger guys a little bit of the ropes here."

Veleno, who stayed in close touch with Shawn Horcoff, the Wings' director of player development, and Dan Cleary, the Wings' player development assistant, last season, said he used his final year in the QMJHL to improve his game.

"Just learning habits and getting better at the little things I need to clean up in my game, playing more the 200-foot game and being more responsible in my defensive zone," Veleno said. "I guess little things like that are going to translate well in the pros."

That doesn't mean Veleno neglected his offensive ability.

In 59 games for the Drummondville Voltigeurs, Veleno had 42 goals and 62 assists.

"Joe looks great," Horcoff said Tuesday. "He had a great season last year, obviously making the world junior team, finishing, I think, first or second in points per game in the league, fourth in overall scoring. But I was really happy with his overall game. I think he showed a much better awareness in the D-zone.

"A lot of these young guys, they get drafted high, they think that their skill is what's going to make the league and last a long time and that's really frankly not the case. Very few people survive on just offensive talent in the National Hockey League and he's going to be no different. If we're going to be successful, he's got to develop into a good 200-foot player, much like Larks (Dylan Larkin). It has taken Larks time but he's really finding his game defensively. We use Larks as an example for Joe a lot."

Veleno is looking forward to having a one-on-one conversation with general manager Steve Yzerman but he said he was all ears when Yzerman addressed the group the night before development camp started.

"Just told us what more or less is going to be at the camp and telling us there's a lot of open spots, it doesn't matter if you're a first-round pick or an invite, everyone is battling for a position and everyone's out here to showcase something," Veleno said.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: "Feels nice to be one of the "older" guys and show some of these young guys a little bit of the ropes here."@jveleno91 on day 1 of #DRWDC

Because Veleno had exceptional status and played as a 15-year-old in the QMJHL, he has completed four seasons and is free to play in either the American Hockey League or the NHL, if he can earn a spot.

"For any guy here, it's a big opportunity," Veleno said. "I think Detroit is in a big rebuild and there's a lot of open spots. So, I'm definitely taking that in consideration and giving it my best to play on the team next year."

Veleno has speed on his side and he's not small at 6-foot-1 and about 195-200 pounds, but he knows the jump from major junior hockey to the NHL is a huge one.

"I think the time and space and the physicality, one on one battles are huge in the pros," Veleno said. "Guys are bigger, stronger, quicker, so got to be ready for that and the time and space is one of the biggest transitions from junior to pros. You got to be able to make plays at a higher pace."

Veleno said he would welcome the chance to reunite on a line with Filip Zadina, something that clicked in last year's prospect tournament.

"It's always fun playing with those types of players," Veleno said. "He's very dynamic, he can score goals. I guess the way I play the game, it's creating room for other guys on my line and passing the puck more than shooting. But obviously, it would be a lot of fun to play with him."

For now, that will have to wait as Zadina is nursing a hamstring strain.

But in the meantime, Veleno will keep working toward his goal of making the Red Wings this fall.

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