Saturday, June 23, 2018

Veleno, Salda drafted into NHL

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Two former Saint John Sea Dogs had their names called at this weekend's NHL Draft in Dallas.

Former captain Joe Veleno was selected 30th overall by the Detroit Red Wings on Friday while defenceman Radim Salda was selected 206th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Veleno was traded to the Drummondville Voltigeurs at Christmas while Salda was recently moved to the Rimouski Oceanic to free up an import spot.

Veleno, the first overall pick in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft and the first player to be granted exceptional player status in league history, slid down the draft rankings much of the season and slid further than many expected on Friday.

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“We had him extremely high on the board,” Red Wings director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright told the Detroit Free Press. “I don’t want to do a lot of comparisons but he skates a lot like Dylan Larkin. He plays the game kind of like Dylan Larkin. I don’t want to compare him to Larkin, but he fits the mold of what we’re trying to accomplish. We want to be fast, we want to be competitive, and we want to produce more offense.”

Three of Detroit's top four picks in this year's draft came from the QMJHL: Halifax's Filip Zadina at No. 6, Veleno at No. 30 and Halifax's Jared McIsaac at No. 36.

Salda went around where most had projected him to go. The Lightning have been drafting a lot of QMJHL talent in recent years, so it wasn't shocking to see them use a seventh round pick on the offensive defenseman.

78 players from the CHL were selected in this year's draft - which included 23 from the QMJHL. Drummondville and Halifax each had four players selected.

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