Jakub Vrana is currently tied for sixth on the team in goals scored. The thing is: every player ahead of him has played 30+ games. Vrana has only played seven in Detroit.
Next year, Detroit fans will get a chance to see what Vrana can do in a full season (barring injury).
It is safe to say Steve Yzerman won that trade.
Healthy Red Wings Teammates Will Help
Jakub Vrana had a heck of a start with the Red Wings. He’s averaging a point per game (6 goals, 1 assists in 7 games played), with the highlight being the four goal night against the Dallas Stars.
That four goal performance is even more impressive when you consider how depleted Detroit’s lineup was. Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi and Ryan Fabbri were all absent from the lineup – all members of Detroit’s top six.
Vrana has already begun to develop significant chemistry with his Czech-mate, Filip Zadina. Next year, he will get a chance to play with a healthy top six, and fans will finally get to see what kind of performance he can put up with lines that aren’t scrapped together.
Vrana’s Still on the Rise
Vrana’s stock is still rising. At just 25, Vrana has shown plenty of growth throughout his career already. He has increased his average points per game nearly every season since his introduction to the NHL; starting with .29 ppg in 2016-17, and recently finishing with .75 ppg in 2019-20. In Detroit and Washington, his average is slightly lower than last season, but still impressive: .70 ppg (a point per game if you just take his seven games in Detroit).
It is also important to note that during his time in Washington, Vrana was not given top line minutes. His season average time on ice never rose above 15 minutes, mostly hovering around the 14 minutes mark. So far in Detroit, there has only been one sub 15 minute game for Vrana – he has been given a larger role with the Wings, with an average TOI of 17:43.
Expect big numbers from the Czech next season. He’ll get top line minutes with better teammates, and will likely receive a good chunk of playing time on the power play. All this is a pretty good recipe for the perhaps the best shooter in Detroit to really make his mark in the 2021-22 season.