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Vrana Opens Up About Progress, Doesn’t Know When He’ll Be Back In NHL

Former Washington Capitals and current Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana opened up about his progress since returning from the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.



It's been a little over a month since Jakub Vrana was reinstated and returned to the ice following nearly two months with the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program, and the road hasn't been easy. But for the former Washington Capitals and current Detroit Red Wings winger, it's all been worth it.

Vrana spoke with reporters in Grand Rapids about his progress and said the focus since October has been getting back on track and bettering himself both on and off the ice after things fell apart to open the season. And right now, he's feeling the best he has in months.

"I'm feeling great, I'm feeling unbelievable," Vrana said.

Vrana was reinstated from the program near the end of December and skated with the Red Wings a few times before he was sent to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins on a conditioning loan. His stint didn't go according to plan to start as he struggled at both ends of the ice with the Griffins. He was then placed on waivers by Detroit and ultimately, cleared.

Since then, he's been down at the minor league level, and things are starting to look up as he has goals in back-to-back games. He has three points in his last six outings overall.

"I'm starting to put pucks in the net, but I'm getting chances," Vrana said. "It's a matter of time."

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When it comes to the journey back to the big club, the 26-year-old doesn't know when he'll be called back up or be lacing 'em up for the Red Wings again. However, he's shutting all of that out, and also putting everything in the past. The priority at the moment is personal growth, getting back to the level he was at and helping the Griffins in any way he can.

“I get back from the program, I'm basically doing what I'm told. And for me, I'm just trying to get better as a person on the ice. It doesn’t matter, just work on myself," Vrana said. "I’m confident guy. I will never lose that. I'm a confident kid, I'm gonna find a way, I'm gonna find my game. I'm gonna work on myself on the ice until I find it. That's how I’ve always been, so I'm not worried about that.

"It is what it is. I'm here right now, I’m doing my best to help the team with my game and I can only control what I can control… I can only do what I can do. I do my best. The rest, I can't decide where I'm gonna be. I just do my best. I don't know, I feel like I'm doing what I can possibly do with my life, but I don't decide position."

Washington traded Vrana, along with a couple of draft picks, to Detroit at the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline in exchange for Anthony Mantha. Vrana has played in just 39 games for the Red Wings so far due to his time away and a shoulder injury last season, but he has 22 goals and 10 assists in 39 games.

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