Jakub Vrana pass through waivers and went unclaimed by the other 31 teams in the NHL on Wednesday after the Detroit Red Wings shockingly put him on the list the day before.
At this point, it appears Vrana will remain with the Red Wings’ AHL farm team, the Grand Rapids Griffins. He will continue longterm what initially began as a conditioning stint.
The news was first reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 4, 2023
The roster move allowed the Detroit Red Wings to activate Robby Fabbri from injured reserve and rejoin the team.
Fabs is back. pic.twitter.com/FoIfl8EskR
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) January 4, 2023
Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde addressed the roster move after the team’s practice and discussed the move with GM Steve Yzerman.
“We talked about it thoroughly,” Lalonde said per The Detroit Free Press. “Steve and I discuss everything together. We are on the same page on everything. Ultimately it’s Steve’s decision, it’s exactly why you probably need that manager-coach layer, but weighing everything, ultimately that’s what we came up with.
“[Jakub] does provide goals,” Lalonde continued. “I think where he is in his game, too, you hope he gets back there, too. He’s getting his game back in order. He’s in a process of getting his game in order, hopefully to where he was. It’s all part of it. To his privacy, especially where he’s been over the last three or four months, I don’t think it would be fair to him to go through any of the details.”
Vrana played two games for the Red Wings early in the season before entering the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program for two months.
Vrana returned to the Red Wings on December 16 but has not played for the team since. GM Steve Yzerman sent him down for a three-game conditioning stint last week that was extended on Tuesday to six games. Later in the afternoon, it was revealed the team put him on waivers.
So far for the AHL Griffins, Vrana has no points and a plus-minus of minus-5. The Czech star did have seven shots in his latest game on New Year’s Eve.
Vrana going unclaimed is a surprise considering how good of a goal-scorer he’s been when he’s actually played. He’s got 22 goals in 39 games for the Red Wings, ranking second only to Auston Matthews in 5v5 goals per 60 minutes since 2020-21. But his $5.25 million cap hit limited what teams could claim him and his off-the-ice issues likely scared off others who could.
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