Former Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana era ends in St. Louis

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Red Wings may have their own issues to worry about, but if you were worried about Steve Yzerman’s trading abilities (which you shouldn’t be), the Red Wings just won. In 2022-23, the Red Wings traded Jakub Vrana to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a depth minor-leaguer and a seventh-round pick.

It was not exactly a groundbreaking deal, but after the struggles that Vrana had with the Detroit Red Wings, more off-the-ice, then on, Yzerman was ready to cut ties. That trade has since been nullified.

The Red Wings may have gotten lucky, beating the Blues on Tuesday night, but that did not stop the Blues from overhauling things. Vrana had already been placed on waivers, but it was announced by Chris Johnston on X (formerly Twitter) that Vrana had gone unclaimed on waivers.

Vrana will be a free agent after going unclaimed. He was traded to the Blues last year with hopes that he would be able to get his career back on track after things skirted off the rails during the end of his tenure in Detroit.

Former Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana is unable to hang with the Blues.

Vrana played 19 games for St. Louis in 2023-24, with just two goals and four assists for six total points on the year. He played 39 games in total for St. Louis between last year and this year, scoring 12 goals and adding eight assists for 20 total points.

Vrana may have touched on his scoring side when he was with the Red Wings and then again when he started with the Blues, but the end of the road with Detroit was a bit rocky. Vrana checked into the player assistance program and spent some time away from the ice.

It was thought to be a combination of substance abuse issues with mental health issues, which is the reason he checked into the program and stepped away from the team. It’s similar to what players have done in the past, such as Corey Perry (recently) and Spencer Knight (last year), for whatever reasons they may need assistance.

But, whatever the reason, Vrana was able to get back on track and get on the ice once again with Detroit before his departure via trade. Vrana was one of the exciting additions when he first came to Detroit, but things obviously never panned out.

Now, Vrana is a free agent once again. I know some of you may be thinking the Red Wings could use some forward depth. Why not take a chance between injuries and a suspension with David Perron?

Hard Pass.

I’ll be the first to admit I was very “up” on Vrana, expecting him to be someone who could score 30 goals and be an asset for the Red Wings. I thought he would bring more value to Detroit than Anthony Mantha did, post-Mantha/Vrana trade. But things did not exactly turn out that way.

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If Detroit is going to do anything, they should worry about their netminders. If they really are worried about bringing in more depth up the middle or for the forward core, they should look elsewhere. Vrana is not the answer, familiar face or not.