Vrana was traded to the St. Louis Blues on Friday for a seventh-round pick in 2025 and minor-leaguer Dylan McLaughlin. The Wings retained 50% of Vrana’s salary on the contract that runs through next season with a $5.25 million salary cap hit.
McLaughlin, 27, has one goal in six appearances with the Blues’ AHL affiliate. The Wings loaned McLaughlin to the Springfield Thunderbirds immediately following the trade.
The trade ends what had been a turbulent time with the Wings for Vrana, a talented forward.
Vrana, 27, stood out immediately for his on-ice skills when he was acquired at the 2021 trade deadline, pumping eight goals in the 11 games he played with the Wings in what was left of that pandemic-shortened season. But things soon soured, and Vrana’s nearly two years with the Wings is notable for how little he played.
Vrana totaled 22 goals and 32 points in 42 games with Detroit. He could score out of nowhere, needing just one shot to make a difference. The problem was how little the Wings saw of him. Vrana showed up late for training camp at the start of the 2021-22 season, and lasted only 10 minutes on the ice before a shoulder injury that had nagged since the previous season ended up requiring surgery. Vrana made his season debut March 8 and scored three goals his first two games, but it was too late to help the Wings push for a playoff spot. He ended up posting 13 goals in 26 games, which extrapolates to 41 goals in an 82-game season.
Vrana was on time when camp began last fall, and began the season on what looked to be a promising second line next with Andrew Copp and David Perron. But two games into the season, Vrana was placed the NHL and NHLPA players assistance program. He was reinstated Dec. 15, and loaned to the minors on a conditioning stint on Dec. 28.
Then Yzerman pulled a surprise move and waived Vrana.
When he cleared, he was assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins. After a slow start — understandable, given his long layoff from hockey — Vrana started to look like an NHL player playing at a lower level, stringing together a six-game point streak.
With Lucas Raymond sidelined by a lower-body injury, the Wings recalled Vrana on Feb. 14. Vrana was a healthy scratch for three games, then appeared in two games, both of which the Wings won. He was then designated a healthy scratch again, another indication he was not viewed as being part of neither the team’s present nor the future.
Red Wings fans: Listen to this week’s episode of the “Carlos and Shawn” podcast, embedded above in the story. It features our Red Wings reporter Helene St. James, and examines the team’s recent losses and challenges during their playoff push.
Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings trade Jakub Vrana to St. Louis Blues for pick