According to The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta, the Detroit Red Wings will recall former Washington Capitals left-wing Jakub Vrana from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Previously, it was speculated that the 26-year-old had played his final game with Detroit and the team would buy out the final year of his contract in June.
What seemed unlikely a week ago is now an actuality. Perhaps for showcase purposes? Nevertheless, I’m hearing the Red Wings are calling up Jakub Vrana from the AHL. #LGRW
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) February 14, 2023
Earlier this week The Athletic published an interview with Vrana, where Vrana discussed his situation with the Red Wings.
“That’s the thing, I don’t think I know anything,” Vrana told The Athletic. “I don’t have any source — I (am not) even looking for those, because it’s pointless. I mean, nobody knows anything. People can speculate each day, and people are doing that, and that’s just how it is. But at the end of the day, there’s only a few people that are running these things, and they make those decisions. And you can speculate all day long, but then at the end of the day, you’re not making those (decisions).”
Vrana made it clear in the interview that he wanted to play for the Red Wings.
“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. Everybody does. (But) that’s looking way too ahead of us right now. I’m just focusing from day to day, and to be (a) part of the team up there again, and the rest will come. 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.”
The 26-year-old has six goals and 11 points in 17 AHL games this season.
Vrana has played just 28 games over his first two full seasons with Detroit due to shoulder surgery prior to last season and entrance into the NHL/NHLPA’s player assistance program last October.
Vrana was reinstated by the NHL on December 16 and assigned to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins recently for a conditioning stint.
Vrana has played just 39 NHL games since arriving at the trade deadline on April 12. 2021, in the deal that sent left-wing Anthony Mantha to Washington. However, over his quick tenure in Detroit, Vrana has scored 22 goals with 32 points (including a one-goal, two-point game in a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils, his last NHL game on October 15).
Vrana, who cleared waivers on January 4, has two years left on a contract that counts $5.25 million against the NHL salary cap.
In 284 career games with Washington, 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 had no points and a combined -8 rating in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games from 2019-20 when Washington was eliminated in the first round both times after recording three goals and eight points in 23 games during the 2018 tournament.
Washington 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. Head coach Peter Laviolette scratched Vrana twice before the team traded him and never seemed to click with the young Czech after the team hired him.
Washington hosts Detroit on Tuesday, February 21 for the final meeting of the season between the two teams.
UPDATE: 5:20 PM
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) February 14, 2023
By Harrison Brown