Veleno is the prospect I'm really hoping can turn into an elite center for Detroit. I was ecstatic when he fell into our lap at the draft. Filpula was a very useful and defensively good center when younger for the Wings (underrated for sure). He was a very good depth player for Detroit when they were an elite team. But the fact he's 35 and on the 2nd line in Detroit shows how much lack of depth this team has up the middle.
Still think bypassing Cozens for Seider at the draft this year may be questionable. But time will tell. Hope Stevie made the right call on that. I'm sure Buffalo was ecstatic to take Cozens at #7.
I was curious about projecting Veleno / Zadina and did a quick-and-dirty comparison of their junior numbers versus a few guys a little further along in the development process -- Mantha and AA.
Obviously there's a lot
more that goes into determining whether or not a player will succeed in the NHL, but I found the basic data interesting.
Age 16: 13-30-43 in 62
Age 17: 13-27-40 in 45
Age 18: 22-57-79 in 64
Age 19: 42-62-104 in 59
Age 18: 44-38-82 in 57
Age 16: 11-11-22 in 57
Age 17: 22-15-37 in 63
Age 18: 29-38-67 in 66
Age 19: 49-46-95 in 66
Age 16: 0-0-0 in 2
Age 17: 22-29-51 in 63
Age 18: 50-39-89 in 67
Age 19: 57-63-120 in 57
Zadina only played one season in the CHL, at age 18, but his ppg in that season was higher than what the other three achieved in their age-18 seasons. Caveats about sample sizes apply, and his edge over Mantha is not especially large.
The other three are more directly comparable statistically, and in terms of point production in juniors the pretty clear order is Mantha > Veleno > Athanasiou. Veleno gets a little bonus credit since he was about 4 months younger than Mantha and 6 months younger than AA during their most directly comparable seasons.
AA does have more impressive goal totals than Veleno, but Veleno is a much better distributor, scores more total points, and by all accounts appears to have a more "complete" two-way game.
Again, not saying these numbers necessarily mean Veleno will or won't develop into an all-star, or will or won't be better than, say, Anthony Mantha. I'm cautiously optimistic and think he'll probably be a good NHLer, but "elite" might be a stretch -- again, just based on the numbers, without any deeper analysis of his game. Hoping he proves me wrong.