Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Wings Assign Three Players To Grand Rapids

05/09/2021 at 8:11pm EDT

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today reassigned right wing Givani Smith, center Joe Veleno and goaltender Kaden Fulcher to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins from the taxi squad.

Smith, 23, has played 21 games with the Griffins this season and ranks among team leaders with seven goals (T3rd), five assists (10th), 12 points (7th), 38 penalty minutes (2nd) and 56 shots on goal (3rd). Smith is currently in his third professional season and has spent parts of the last two campaigns with the Red Wings, totaling seven points (3-4-7) and 30 penalty minutes in 37 NHL games. In 16 games with Detroit this season, Smith has registered four points (1-3-4), 21 penalty minutes, 20 shots on goal and 28 hits in 10:35 average time on ice. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound winger notched his first NHL multi-point game on Feb. 7 at Florida, posting two points (1-1-2) while completing the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” by recording a fighting major in the game as well. Smith has skated in 125 games with the Griffins since 2016-17, tallying 44 points (22-22-44) and 201 penalty minutes.

The Toronto, Ontario, native was selected by Detroit in the second round (46th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and spent four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League prior to turning professional. In 236 games with the Barrie Colts, Guelph Storm and Kitchener Rangers from 2014-18, Smith tallied 135 points (73-62-135) and 411 penalty minutes, leading the league in penalty minutes in consecutive seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17. In his final OHL campaign split between Guelph and Kitchener in 2017-18, Smith picked up 30 points (17-13-30) in 46 regular-season games before racking up 18 points (11-7-18) in 18 playoff games with Kitchener.

Veleno, 21, returned to North America in April after he was loaned to the Malmo Redhawks in the Swedish Hockey League to begin the 2020-21 campaign. Veleno ranked among team leaders with 11 goals (3rd), nine assists (T9th) and 20 points (T4th) in his second professional season. He made his NHL debut with the Red Wings on April 27 at Columbus and scored his first goal against the same club on May 7. In 2018-19, Veleno logged 54 games for the Griffins and led the team’s rookies with 23 points (11-12-23). Veleno began last season as one of the youngest players in the AHL and led all under-20 skaters in scoring. The Kirkland, Quebec, native also won gold with Canada at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, serving as an alternate captain for the club and ranking sixth on the team with six points (1-5-6) in six games in his second-consecutive appearance at the tournament.

Originally drafted by the Red Wings in the first round (30th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Veleno turned professional at 19 after spending four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he racked up 266 points (90-176-266), a plus-82 rating and 106 penalty minutes in 230 games between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Drummondville Voltigeurs from 2015-19. In his final season of junior hockey, Veleno was named a QMJHL First-Team All-Star after finishing fourth in the league with 104 points (42-62-104) in 59 games with Drummondville. A 2017 QMJHL champion with Saint John, Veleno also produced 46 points (27-19-46), a plus-10 rating and 34 penalty minutes in 61 postseason contests. In addition to his appearances for Canada at the 2019 and 2020 World Juniors, Veleno has played extensively for Team Canada, including a gold medal at the 2017 Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He combined for 26 points (4-22-26) and 24 penalty minutes in 29 games at various junior tournaments for his country since 2015-16.

Fulcher, 22, is in his third professional season after being limited to two games during the 2019-20 campaign with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye due to injury. Fulcher has appeared in five games with the Griffins this season, earning his first AHL victory in a 2-1 win on April 21 versus Cleveland. With Grand Rapids this season, he has a 1-2-2 record, 2.94 goals-against average and 0.906 save percentage. The netminder appeared in 30 games with the Walleye over his first two professional seasons, posting a 15-9-6 record, 3.17 goals-against average, 0.894 save percentage and one shutout. Fulcher made his NHL debut in relief duty during the Red Wings season finale on April 6, 2019 against Buffalo, making nine saves on 11 shots on goal.

Originally signed by the Red Wings as an undrafted free agent on Oct. 3, 2017, Fulcher was a 2018 Ontario Hockey League champion with the Hamilton Bulldogs and posted a 57-44-13 record, 3.19 goals-against average, 0.893 save percentage and five shutouts in 115 OHL games from 2015-18. The 6-foot-3, 201-pound netminder was also named the Most Outstanding Goaltender at the Canadian Hockey League Memorial Cup following a 2.27 goals-against average and 0.918 save percentage in four games at the 2018 tournament.

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