Prospect Need to Know: Veleno making a statement in Drummondville

The Detroit Red Wings first-rounder has been blazing for the Voltigeurs, which is great for his world junior team bid. Learn more about him and other prospects making themselves known in our weekly wrap
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With Team USA already releasing its roster and Canada setting camps for its East and West editions, it’s time to start thinking about the World Jr. A Challenge. I’ll have more on the tournament as it approaches in mid-December, but there are definitely some intriguing names suiting up. In the meantime, Canada’s world junior roster got some clarity when Anaheim sent Maxime Comtois back to junior and it will be interesting to see if any more NHL teams lend their kids out for international duty. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the players making noise around the prospect world right now, including some world junior hopefuls.

Joe Veleno, C, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL): Timing is everything and Veleno is making a very good case for a spot on Canada’s world junior team with his recent efforts for the Volts. The Detroit Red Wings pick has 15 points in his past four games and has worked his way up to fifth in league scoring. Most importantly, he plays with a lot of pace. NHL arrival: 2019-20

Troy Terry, RW, San Diego Gulls (AHL): We all know how clutch Terry can be, but he’s still a prospect rounding out his game. To that end, the Anaheim Ducks pick has been doing great work down in San Diego, totalling 16 points through 12 games with the Gulls this season. That ties him for fourth among AHL rookies. NHL arrival: 2019-20

Egor Afanasyev, C, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL): The league’s forward of the week, Afanasyev is now up to 24 points in 16 games for the Lumberjacks after a seven-point week. The 2019 draft prospect and Michigan State commit has size, a cracking shot and deft hands. Thanks to Muskegon’s depth down the middle, he has also played on the wing this year. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Jason Robertson, RW, Niagara IceDogs (OHL): The centerpiece in a massive trade with Kingston, Robertson has already impressed in Niagara with four points in his first two games. The Dallas Stars pick has great puck protection abilities and an elite goal-scoring touch, which explains why he’s one of the top producers in the league this year. NHL arrival: 2020-21

Rasmus Kupari, C, Karpat Oulu (Fin.): Kupari is really heating up in the Liiga with six points in his past four games, getting him to 19 in 22 contests overall. The quick and talented Los Angeles Kings first-rounder will be a nice weapon for Finland at the world juniors and he does have some experience from last year’s tourney. NHL arrival: 2019-20

Jack Dugan, RW, Providence College Friars (Hockey East): One of the most impressive freshmen in the nation right now, Dugan continues to play hot for the Friars and now has 16 points in 13 games, tying him for the most in the conference. The Vegas Golden Knights pick brings great size and skill to the lineup. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Connor Dewar, C, Everett Silvertips (WHL): Dewar wasn’t really on my radar last year, but he looked pretty good in Traverse City this fall and he has continued his strong play back home with the Tips. The Minnesota Wild prospect and Everett captain has nearly a goal-per-game this season, using an accurate shot that he can get off in a hurry. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Jacob Bernard-Docker, D, North Dakota Fighting Hawks (NCHC): With five points in his past three games, JBD is beginning to put something together in his freshman campaign with the Hawks. The Ottawa Senators pick brings great skating and a responsible two-way game to the table. He’s now up to nine points in 13 games total. NHL arrival: 2021-22

Trevor Kukkonen, LW, Maple Grove Crimson (Minn. HS): A talented player with a great motor and good hockey smarts, Kukkonen helped the Crimson win the Minnesota high school Turkey Trot last week with a shootout win over powerhouse Edina. The 2019 draft prospect and Michigan Tech commit has four points through two games. NHL arrival: 2022-23

Jakub Skarek, G, Lahti Pelicans (Fin.): Skarek continues to be one of the top goaltenders in the Finnish Liiga, which is great news for the Czech world junior squad. The New York Islanders pick hasn't given up more than two goals in a game since October and hasn't given up more than three in a game all season. His 1.80 goals-against average ranks second in the league as well. NHL arrival: 2022-23

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