Photo: Detroit Jock City
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, former Washington Capitals left-wing Jakub Vrana and the Detroit Red Wings are more than $2 million apart in contract negotiations heading into their salary arbitration hearing on Wednesday. The 25-year-old is asking for a cap hit of $5.7 million on his next contract while the Red Wings filed at $3.65 million.
Vrana tallied 11 goals and 25 points in 39 games with the Capitals last season before getting traded to the Red Wings in a deal that sent left-wing Anthony Mantha to Washington. In 11 games after the trade, Vrana recorded eight goals and 11 points.
Part of why the Capitals traded Vrana was because Mantha’s contract has more term as he signed a four-year deal that carries a $5.7 million cap hit, the same amount what Vrana is asking for in arbitration, just last October while Vrana became a restricted free agent on July 28. With left-wing Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Ilya Samsonov also heading into the offseason in need of new deals, the Capitals opted to deal for Mantha partly because they know his number for the future.
Head coach Peter Laviolette scratched Vrana twice before the Capitals traded him and never seemed to click with the young Czech.
In 284 career games with the Capitals, Vrana has recorded 76 goals, 157 points, and a +36 rating. He set career-highs in goals (25) and points (52) in 69 games during the 2019-20 season. He has no points and a combined -8 rating in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games over the past two seasons when the Capitals were eliminated in the first round both times after recording three goals and eight points in 23 games during the 2018 tournament.
Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said he saw a “frustrated player” in Vrana in terms of his body language and the team wanted to move on from that.
In an arbitration hearing, the team usually starts low and the player high. The two sides normally meet somewhere in the middle prior to arbitration, though some cases need to be settled by an arbitrator. Even after the two sides present their cases, they could still come to an agreement before the ruling.
After the ruling, the team could decide to walk away from the contract if they do not like it (which is very rare) and that player could become an unrestricted free agent or sign the player to that deal.
Arbitration asks for Jakub Vrana (DET): Team, $3.65M. Player, $5.7M. Can still be settled before hearing.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 9, 2021
By Harrison Brown