Everyone had a theory about how the Detroit Red Wings would shuffle their roster to make room for Robby Fabbri to come off the injury list.
Placing Jakub Vrana on waivers was not among those theories.
But that was the decision Detroit general manager Steve Yzerman reached today. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported it on Twitter. Teams have 24 hours to claim him.
Based on the lines of the practice, Fabbri will take Adam Erne’s place in the lineup. But Erne stays on the roster.
After Detroit’s practice, coach Derek Lalonde said the Red Wings were going to stay with three goalies on their roster for now. One theory was the Red Wings would put No. 3 goalie Alex Nedeljkovic on waivers.
“I still foresee us holding three goalies maybe for a little bit,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “That may change with the reality of needing that roster spot.”
Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina are both going to soon move off the injured list, maybe as early as next week. Two more players are will have to go to make room for them.
The Red Wings, Yzerman specifically, clearly reached the conclusion they can live without Vrana. He is a skilled player earning $5.25 million this season and next. At the start of this season, it was presumed Vrana would be among the team’s leading scorers. Now he can be claimed by any team in the NHL and the Red Wings will receive no compensation.
Vrana Could Slip Through Waivers
With more than half the league tight against the salary cap ceiling, maybe Vrana will slip through waivers. Undoubtedly, some general managers around the NHL are trying to find out today why the Red Wings put Vrana on waivers.
Since coming to Detroit in a trade with the Washington Capitals, Vrana has scored 22 goals in 39 games. But the Red Wings were disappointed in Vrana last season when he showed up and immediately needed shoulder surgery. Doctors had suggested surgery in the previous offseason, but Vrana opted for rehabilitation.
The other question is whether Vrana wants to leave the organization. Coach Derek Lalonde said it was Vrana’s decision to extend his conditioning stay in Grand Rapids. We don’t know what he has been going through. Does he want a fresh start?
Vrana hasn’t played in the NHL since Oct. 15. In mid-October, he entered the NHL/NHLPA Players Assistance Program. When he rejoined the Red Wings before the holiday, Vrana said he didn’t want to discuss why he entered the program.
Vrana currently is with the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Red Wings said Monday that he would use his full two weeks conditioning stint. He has played three games with the Griffins and is yet to register a point. He did produce seven shots on goal in his last game there.