The Detroit Red Wings have placed former Washington Capitals forward Jakub Vrana on waivers as he continues to work toward a return following time in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.
Vrana is currently on a conditioning stint with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins following his reinstatement from the program, and through three games down in the minors, he has seven shots and a +/- rating of minus-5. Detroit recently elected to extend his conditioning loan for the full two weeks.
The 26-year-old has played in just two games for Detroit this season, picking up a goal and assist. He entered the player assistance program back on Oct. 19.
"It's important to have your life in order," Vrana said in a WOOD radio interview during the first intermission of his AHL season debut. "You have to know what you want for yourself. Those are the most important things…There is a plan. It doesn't matter if it's in life or whatever you do. You have to work on yourself, but you're going to do it with a good heart.
"I feel the support. I'm really happy, I got so many letters," Vrana added. "Whatever life puts in front of me, I want to win that battle. It's nice to have these people behind [me]. I just want to go back and give the people what they want. There are bigger things in life to get in order first."
Vrana started his career with the Capitals after going in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft, but he was traded at the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline in exchange for Anthony Mantha, as both forwards could have benefitted from a change in scenery. The Czech foward has 22 goals and 10 assists in 39 games with Detroit, while Mantha has 22 goals and 30 assists through 90 games with Washington. Both missed significant time in 2021-22 due to shoulder surgery.
Through the end of next season, Vrana has a cap hit of $5.25 million.