The highly regarded 2021 trade deadline pickup will, unfortunately, miss at least the first four months of the upcoming 2021-22 NHL season. Suffering a shoulder injury just ten minutes into his first practice with the Detroit Red Wings in training camp. This has been an extremely tough couple of months for Jakub Vrana as he was traded from a playoff team in the Washington Capitals to the bottom-feeding Red Wings. Furthermore, Vrana had some issues with his Visa which resulted in him getting just 10 minutes of practice time for Detroit. With Vrana out for the beginning of the season, the Red Wings will have to rely on their depth and some players with untapped potential to step up and replace the hole that Jakub Vrana leaves behind.
Jakub Vrana will have shoulder surgery and miss a minimum of four months. Huge blow for the Red Wings
— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) September 30, 2021
Jakub Vrana Career Overview
Jakub Vrana’s path to the NHL started back in 2014 when the Washington Capitals selected him with the 13th overall pick in the NHL draft. Vrana introduced himself to the NHL during the 2016-17 season as he played in 21 games and scored three goals along with three assists. Proving that he could play in the NHL he was given a bigger opportunity and rule for the 2017-18 season. He played in 73 games during his first full season in the NHL scoring 13 goals and 14 assists. His 27 points are to this day his lowest point total in a full season. He also got his first taste of playoff hockey during the 2017-18 season. He helped the Capitals win the Stanley Cup as he scored three goals
Building off of this great success, his second full season in the NHL saw Vrana suit up in all 82 games for the Washington Capitals. Budding into a star alongside playmakers such as T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom, Vrana posted 24 goals and 23 assists for 47 points. This was his career-high in points for just one season as he outscored himself in the 69 game covid shortened season. At the time that covid cut the season short Vrana had 25 goals and 27 assists. This was his last full season in Washington as he played 39 games for the Capitals before being traded to the Red Wings for Anthony Mantha. Vrana scored 11 goals and 14 assists before the trade. After the trade Vrana thrived playing alongside Dylan Larkin as he had 11 points in 11 games including eight goals.
How Do the Red Wings Replace the Loss of Jakub Vrana?
After the amazing personal success at the ending of the 2020-21 season, there was a lot of hype surrounding Jakub Vrana for the upcoming season. Fortunately, General Manager Steve Yzerman made a bunch of acquisitions and signings this offseason to improve the Red Wings depth. These signings and acquisitions will be heavily leaned on to replace the production that Jakub Vrana’s injury and subsequent surgery leaves.
One player that was brought in during the offseason from a former rival was Pius Suter. Suter spent his rookie season playing for the Chicago Blackhawks. With the Blackhawks Suter cobbled together quite an impressive rookie campaign. The undrafted free agent scored 14 goals and 13 assists in 55 games in a depth role for the Blackhawks. Now in Detroit, the center has taken on the role of becoming the second-line center. Following in the footsteps of his captain and first-line center Dylan Larkin, Suter will have to be a productive player on offense and be an effective shutdown forward on the defensive side of the ice.
Mitchell Stephens is a former draft pick of Steve Yzerman during his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 24-year-old was picked with the 33rd pick in the 2015 NHL draft. Stephens has played in 45 NHL compiling three goals and four assists including playing seven games this season for Tampa Bay. During the 2021 offseason, Stephens was acquired by Yzerman and the Red Wings for the cost of a sixth-round pick. Now presented with an opportunity to play in the lineup almost every game Stephens hopefully will take the next step into becoming a quality NHL player.
Main image credit: