Red Wings share thoughts on Jakub Vrana ahead facing Blues

Vrana has been on a torrid pace since being dealt.



For reasons that we may never be fully privy to, things just did not work out between the Detroit Red Wings and forward Jakub Vrana. As you remember, Vrana entered the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program for an undisclosed issue and was absent for two months after just the first two games of the 2022-23 schedule.

Upon being reinstated, he was sent on a conditioning stint with the American Hockey League affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins before being waived. No team picked him up, and he remained within the Red Wings organization. He would eventually be called back up to the big club, but was sparingly used and was mostly a healthy scratch. They officially cut ties with him earlier this month, trading him to the St. Louis Blues for a future 7th round draft pick. And he's been on a tear with his new club, having scored five goals and six points in seven games played since the trade. 

He'll be taking on the Red Wings for the first time since the trade tonight, as Detroit comes to Enterprise Center for the first of what will be a home and home series. And his former Detroit teammates are happy to see him succeed.

“We haven’t talked since he got traded, but I just remember the day he got traded, I don’t want to say he was happy or something like that, but I think he felt like a little relief,” Red Wings forward Dominik Kubalik said. “Fresh start, clean table. He can show what he’s able to do in this league. We’ve all been through a couple of up and downs, but I think for him, especially, everything starts from the bottom.

“We knew he can score; we know he can skate; we know he has skills. He obviously proved it before. For him, the first thing is to kind of see himself as a good hockey player.”

It was GM Steve Yzerman who specifically declined to name the reasons for things not working out between the two sides, electing to keep it private. For head coach Derek Lalonde, who wasn't shy about calling out Vrana's play away from the puck, he's also happy to see him contribute in his new surroundings. 

“Good player. Really happy for him,” Lalonde said. “It’s been his track record his whole career. He was in the same situation in Washington where he was being healthy scratched. A fresh start helped him in Detroit. He was healthy scratched in Grand Rapids. He had to fight back to get in the lineup here.

“I just think the fresh start is good for him. Looks like bigger picture, the success he’s having in more reflection of where his life is away from the rink, which is great. So not surprised. I’m hoping he can sustain it, not only through this year … but hopefully he can contribute to them next year, too.”

Source: MLive