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Red Wings trades creating space for Vrana in Grand Rapids

AHL veterans on Grand Rapids Griffins reduced to five



Jakub Vrana, Red Wings
Jakub Vrana will no longer have to fight for playing time with other players classified as AHL veterans. (Photo courtesy Griffins Hockey).

The Detroit Red Wings are creating a runway for Jakub Vrana. It’s up to Vrana, though, whether he takes off.

Wednesday saw completion of a pair of trades Wednesday between the Red Wings and San Jose Sharks. First and foremost, purpose of thse moves are improvement to the roster of the AHL Grand Rapids Grifins. At the same time, another objective of these transactions was elimination of the logjam among AHL veterans on the Grand Rapids roster.

Veteran forward Kyle Criscuolo was dealt the Sharks in exchange for Sharks for forward Jasper Weatherby. Weatherby was then assigned to the Griffins.

In a separate trade, the Griffins acquired forward Patrick McGrath from the San Jose Barracuda (AHL) for future considerations.

Since the AHL is first and foremost a development league, the rules prohibit teams from suiting up more than five players that are considered veterans. A veteran is someone who has played 260 or more professional games. This would be including AHL, NHL and European elite leagues, or 320 or more professional games. All calculations for development status are based on regular-season totals as of the start of the current season.

Criscuolo, 30, was one of six players who fit that description on the Grand Rapids roster. That mant one of these players was sitting out every game. Twice, that someone was Vrana.

Only recently back after spending nearly three months as part of the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program, Vrana was given assignment to GR by the Red Wings after clearing NHL waivers.

Vrana Should Be Playing Every Night Now In GR

This move is opening the door to assure that Vrana can try to get his game back to an NHL level. He’s showing just one assist through nine games with the Griffins and is minus-6.

Weatherby, 24, appeared in 50 NHL games with the Sharks and amassed 11 points (5-611) and 18 penalty minutes. A strapping physical specimen at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Weatherby has also played in 64 AHL games throughout parts of two seasons, registering 21 points (8-13-21) and 63 penalty minutes.

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McGrath, 29, has appeared in 137 AHL games throughout parts of nine seasons, registering nine points (4-5-9) and 482 penalty minutes. He’s displaying 42 penalty minutes in just five games this season for the Barracuda. McGrath has also spent six campaigns in the ECHL, playing 165 games.