Jakub Vrana was traded by the Washington Capitals to the Detroit Red Wings on April 12 of 2021. He has played parts of three seasons with the Red Wings and has yet to face his former squad a single time due to a variety of reasons including scheduling, injuries, and a stint in the NHL’s player assistance program.
That all seems like it will change on Tuesday when Detroit comes to DC to play the Caps. Helene St. James reports that Wings coach Derek Lalonde is looking to get Vrana in the lineup for the game.
Lalonde says that the only thing remaining in the way of that return is figuring out who will come out of the lineup in his place.
Vrana has had a pretty insane start to the 2023 calendar year. The 26-year-old former 2014 first-round draft pick kicked off January by being placed on waivers by Detroit. He ultimately went unclaimed but then only a few days later was made a healthy scratch for multiple games in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Things have turned around for him of late though. Vrana recorded 10 points (6g, 4a) in his last nine AHL games. That performance led to the Red Wings recalling him back to the NHL level last week.
Vrana credited his time in Grand Rapids and just getting to play games again for his recent resurgence.
“Guys down there have been great,” Vrana said in his first NHL media availability. “Been happy to play again. Just play some hockey again. It was nice.”
Practice day in DC. Wings will have covered close to 6,000 miles on this road trip playing 5 games in 10 days. Total time zone changes 8 (3 to Van, 1 to Edm, 1 to Sea, 3 to wash DC) pic.twitter.com/Ea07tH6I74
— Ken Kal (@KenKalDRW) February 20, 2023
With the NHL trade deadline quickly approaching, speculation has started that the Wings’ recall of Vrana is just as a showcase to other teams before a potential move. That’s not something that Vrana would personally be a fan of.
“To be honest with you, I’m a proud Red Wing,” Vrana said. “I love to have that logo on my chest. I wish I could play for them for the rest of my life — I mean that’s what I want, obviously. I tell you, like I can’t control whatever happens outside, with what people’s decisions are. I’m just a player, and everybody knows that I want to play there.”
Vrana has one more year remaining on the three-year, $15,750,000 contract he signed with Detroit in August of 2021.
Screenshot via Detroit Red Wings
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