According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman, former Washington Capitals left-wing Jakub Vrana signed a three-year contract that carries a $5.25 million cap hit with the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday to avoid a salary arbitration hearing on Wednesday. He became a restricted free agent on July 28.
The 25-year-old filed for a cap hit of $5.7 million on his next contract while the Red Wings did so 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 was 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.
The Capitals saved $2.3 million in cap space for the next two seasons by trading Vrana and right-wing Richard Panik for Mantha, who carries a $500,000 higher cap hit than Vrana. Vrana and Mantha can both become unrestricted free agents in three years.
By Harrison Brown