Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana is taking another huge stride toward returning to the lineup. Out all season since undergoing shoulder surgery in September, left-winger Vrana wore a white jersey in practice for the first time on Friday after receiving clearance to participate in contact drills.
Naturally, the excitement level among Vrana’s teammates is palpable.
“He is such an important part of our team,” Wings forward Sam Gagner said of Vrana. “He’s great offensively and can create so much. He’s one of those guys that can drive offense on his own and be a game breaker for us.”
To be clear, while this is another step in the process of getting Vrana back in action, he’s still got some tests to pass prior to completing the exam that will earn him that spot on the active roster.
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“Right now, you start with him after practice being in situations where he’s initiating the contact,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill expalined. “We’ll do that for a number of days and then we’ll get into where someone’s initiating physical contact on him.
“He’s in a regular jersey but our guys know not to hit him right now. So he’s not facing any of those unknown shots that kind of come out of nowhere and getting into those unknown battles.”
Vrana Could Make Instant Impact
The Red Wings made the acquisition of Jakub Vrana from the Washington Capitals at least season’s NHL trade deadline. He made an immediate impact. Vrana finished off the season scoring eight goals and registering 11 points in his first 11 games for Detroit.
Knowing that, the Red Wings are just a little bit pumped up about what Vrana’s return might mean to their squad as they seek to make a late-season push for the playoffs.
“It’s nice to see him start to get into some game situations and get that feel back and the timing back,” Gagner said. “You see even in practice kind of the pop he has in his skating, his ability to create offense.
“He’s gonna be really big for us down the stretch here. It’s nice to see him getting back.”