Red Wings prospect Joe Veleno is returning to Grand Rapids after SHL season ends

21-year-old center showed strong play while on loan to Malmö in SHL

Detroit Red Wings' Joe Veleno plays against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Center Joe Veleno is being recalled to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins after his Swedish pro league season came to an end.

Veleno, 21, was on loan to the SHL’s Malmö Redhawks with whom he scored 11 goals and 9 assists in 46 games. He was Detroit’s 1st-round pick, 30th overall in 2018.

Veleno played 54 games with the Griffins in 2019-20 for 11 goals and 12 assists. He also shined at the 2020 WJC for Canada with 6 goals in six games.

Veleno was Steve Yzerman’s first signing as Detroit GM in 2019. He’s now in his second of a four-year entry-level contract that expires in 2023.

It’s unclear if he’ll be available to join the Red Wings before their season ends, but we’ll all be patiently waiting for that moment.

By the way: Three of the top five U20 points leaders in the SHL are Red Wings draft picks.

Defenseman Moritz Seider has 28 points in 41 games played with Rögle BK. He’s routinely being referred to as one of the best hockey prospects in the world. Yzerman is looking like a genius for this pick -- 6th overall in 2019, remember.

Defenseman Albert Johansson (60th overall in 2019) has 19 points in 44 games played with Färjestad BK. Nick Lidstrom -- yes, the Perfect Human -- had this to say about Johansson on Swedish TV:

“I believe a lot in Albert Johansson. I see a lot of potential in him. A young guy, of course, but a few more kilograms on him, getting a bit stronger ... he has the skating, has the hockey sense. He has a lot of tools to make it in the NHL.

And then there’s forward Lucas Raymond, the 4th overall pick in 2020. He has been hurt for much of this season, but he is STILL among the U20 points leaders in the SHL -- 18 points in 34 games.

All of these guys are Yzerman draft picks, and they’re all looking very promising.