A year after winning the President’s Cup as QMJHL champions, the Saint John Sea Dogs have traded away the only player ever granted exceptional player status in the league.
Joe Veleno, a 17-year-old eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft, has been moved to the Drummondville Voltigeurs in exchange for three first-round draft selections in 2018, 2019 and 2020, plus two second-round picks.
The Voltigeurs currently hold a 20-9-1-1 record and sit fourth place in the QMJHL league standings, behind only Blainville-Boisbriand, Quebec and Acadie-Bathurst. The Voltigeurs last won the QMJHL title in 2009, then lost in the Memorial Cup semifinal to the Windsor Spitfires.
The Sea Dogs lost in the Memorial Cup semifinal to the Erie Otters last season, but are just 8-17-4-2 this season and are second last in the QMJHL.
Veleno, who was ranked 16th in Sam Cosentino’s latest 2018 NHL draft rankings, has six goals and 31 points in 31 games this season. He was the first ‘Q’ player ever granted early entry into league with exceptional player status and the Sea Dogs took him first overall in 2015. The Kirkland, Que., native was not among the invitees to Team Canada’s WJC selection camp.