GOTTA SEE IT: Vrana Scores First Goal After Return From Player Assistance Program
Jakub Vrana has scored his first goal of the season for the Griffins, which is also his first tally since returning from the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.
Former Washington Capitals and current Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana's hard work has paid off, as he finally has his first goal of the season with the AHL's Grand Rapid Griffins as he continues to get back up to speed following time in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.
Vrana was coming down the wing and rocketed a shot home to make it 4-0 for the Griffins against the Rockford Ice Hogs on Wednesday.
Jakub Vrana makes it 4-0 in #GRvsRFD 👀@griffinshockey pic.twitter.com/ytCfvGk573
— American Hockey League (@TheAHL) January 19, 2023
It is his first AHL goal since 2016-17 when he was playing with the Capitals' AHL-affiliate Hershey Bears, and it is also his first goal in nine games for Grand Rapids after he joined the team following time with the PA program.
Vrana had one goal and one assist in two games with the Red Wings to open the 2022-23 season before he entered the PA program. It is unclear why he went into the program, but he spent nearly two months away from the ice before being reinstated in late December.
"It's important to have your life in order," Vrana told Griffins broadcaster Bob Kaser in a radio interview. "You have to know what you want for yourself. Those are the most important things."
Following a rough start to his conditioning stint, Detroit placed Vrana on waivers in order to open up a roster spot for Robby Fabbri. Vrana cleared and has remained down in Grand Rapids since. He has navigated a few healthy scratches with the AHL cub due to the veteran rule (the 2018 Stanley Cup champion has played in over 321 pro games), but he appears to be getting more comfortable with time.
He also said that he has gotten an outpouring of support following his entry into the program, and he said that he is placing priorities on his health over everything as he works his way back.
"I feel the support. I'm really happy, I got so many letters," Vrana added in the interview. "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."
In 284 games with the Capitals, Vrana had 76 goals and 81 assists for 157 points before he was traded to Detroit in exchange for Anthony Mantha, who has been a healthy scratch in D.C. for three of the last five games. Through 39 games with the Wings, the Czech winger has 22 goals and 10 assists for 32 points.