Detroit Red Wings: Jakub Vrana’s trade value continues to plummet

(Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
(Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

It continues to be the mysterious case of Jakub Vrana and the Detroit Red Wings organization.

Forward Jakub Vrana was scratched in back-to-back games for the Grand Rapids Griffins last week during what the Detroit Red Wings initially called a ‘conditioning stint,’ leaving his future with the organization in considerable doubt.

Griffins head coach Ben Simon addressed the issue in a post-game interview. When asked what Vrana needs to do to work his way back into Detroit’s lineup, Simon stated ‘Compete’ the same thing as everyone else ‘compete.’ Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde was also asked about Vrana being scratched. Lalonde promptly answered that Simon makes the decisions when it comes to the Griffins’ lineup decisions.

Vrana did work his way back into the Griffins lineup this past Saturday, but as what’s become far too familiar this season was held pointless. Over seven games with the Griffins, Vrana has recorded just one assist while skating to a minus -6 rating.

Jakub Vrana’s struggles continue in Grand Rapids, which only limits the Detroit Red Wings’ options.

The 26-year-old forward carries a cap hit of $5.25 million this season and next, which limits Detroit’s options, especially with how he’s performed since returning from the NHL/NHLPA’s Player Assistance Program.

Vrana’s lack of production is a mystery. Since joining the Red Wings in a trade where Detroit sent Anthony Mantha to the Washington Capitals, Vrana scored at a 45-goal pace when he’s been healthy. That is also a concern; Vrana hasn’t played all that many games for the Red Wings since joining the club due to various injuries but primarily because of a shoulder issue. That shoulder issue may stem deeper than it appears on the surface. Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now recently mentioned that before the shoulder injury in camp last season, doctors had suggested surgery in the previous offseason, but Vrana opted for rehabilitation. The injury followed, and that disappointed the organization.

Vrana has appeared in 39 games for the Red Wings in two-plus seasons recording 22 goals and 32 points.

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman elected to place the sharpshooter on waivers in early January to clear a roster spot for forward Robby Fabbri, who has returned to Detroit’s lineup with a bang. Yzerman likely worked the phone lines before making the transaction, hoping to move Vrana for a future asset rather than risking losing him for nothing on waivers. Unless Vrana can right the ship with the Griffins, his future with the organization and elsewhere, for that matter, will remain in doubt.

Fabbri had been sidelined for a significant period of time due to a torn ACL injury suffered last spring. The versatile forward has given the Red Wings’ offense a boost since his return, having scored three goals over five games. Fabbri has also been engaged physically, showing no signs of fatigue or concerns about his health. It’s the third torn knee Fabbri has suffered, twice to his left and most recently to his right.

On Sunday afternoon, Yzerman made another difficult decision when he placed backup goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic on waivers following his conditioning stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins. Teams will have until 2 pm EST. on Monday to place a claim on the 27-year-old netminder.

Next. Derek Lalonde is still trying to ‘hunt down’ Dan Campbell. dark

The Griffins are an underwhelming 14-19-1-1 on the season and are set to take on Iowa Monday at 3 pm EST.