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Detroit Red Wings Need a Jakub Vrana Redemption Story

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By this point, we’re all aware that Jakub Vrana is not with the Detroit Red Wings, but rather in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins. 

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You have to wonder what’s next in the Vrana saga. Will he remain in the AHL? Or will he get the call up to Detroit before the 2022-23 season concludes?

Jakub Vrana of the Detroit Red Wings
Jakub Vrana in his last game with the Detroit Red Wings to date. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

In my opinion, the Red Wings and Vrana need a redemption story. Let me explain, starting first with how we got here.

Vrana in Detroit: Timeline of Events

Since he arrived in Hockeytown, there has been a flurry of activity involving Vrana. The timeline below outlines the brief history of the forward’s stay in Detroit:

  • Apr. 12, 2021 – Detroit acquires Vrana from the Washington Capitals
  • May 8, 2021 – Vrana finishes the 2020-21 season with 11 points in 11 Red Wings games
  • Sep. 25, 2021 – Vrana exits training camp after 10 minutes with a shoulder injury; has surgery
  • Mar. 8, 2022 – Vrana returns to the lineup after missing 56 games
  • Apr. 29, 2022 – Vrana finishes the 2021-22 campaign with 19 points in 26 games
  • Oct. 15, 2022 – The Red Wings defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-2; Vrana has a goal and an assist
  • Oct. 19, 2022 – Vrana enters the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program
  • Dec. 16, 2022 – Vrana exits the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program; begins practicing
  • Dec. 27, 2022 – The Red Wings send Vrana down to the AHL for a conditioning stint
  • Jan. 3, 2023 – Detroit waives Vrana; he goes unclaimed and is assigned to the AHL

As you can see, it’s been a roller coaster tenure for Vrana. In 39 games, the Czech forward has recorded 32 points, including 22 goals. No other Red Wing has been able to match his goal-scoring prowess in that time.

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But on the flip side, Vrana has been limited to just 39 games over two-plus seasons with the Red Wings. Surely, the team would be in a better position if he was in the lineup more often, though you can’t fault Vrana for the time missed while he was in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.

Why the Red Wings & Vrana Need Each Other

From Detroit’s standpoint, the organization needs Vrana for his goal-scoring abilities. When he’s in the lineup, he’s their best pure scorer. 

Vrana also has a knack for capitalizing on defensive miscues and quickly creating scoring chances. This is especially valuable at five-on-five, where the Red Wings continue to struggle.


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