Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana will undergo shoulder surgery and be sidelined at least four months, head coach Jeff Blashill announced Thursday.
“He’s a guy that, going into the season, we had penciled into some big roles with the opportunity to score goals for us,” Blashill said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Certainly, we’d be in a better spot today as we stand if he were healthy and ready to go. But he’s not and that’s just the reality of life.
“One of our biggest things we do as a team is – we certainly care about the guys that are out – but we worry about the guys that are available to us and who can get it done. It opens up a top-six spot and a power play spot for somebody.”
The Red Wings acquired Vrana at last season’s trade deadline in a deal that sent Anthony Mantha to the Washington Capitals. He instantly fit in to the club’s top six, tallying 11 points (eight goals, three assists) in 11 games to close out the 2020-21 season.
The 25-year-old signed a three-year, $15.75 million deal with the Red Wings in August. He spent the first four and a half seasons of his career in Washington after being drafted 13th overall in 2014.
In 295 career games, Vrana has tallied 84 goals and 84 assists, including 21 game-winning goals.
Blashill said Bobby Ryan, who is at camp on a tryout, Lucas Raymond and Joe Veleno could potentially take Vrana’s spot until he returns. If Ryan and Raymond both play well, the Red Wings will likely sign Ryan, an NHL veteran, and send Raymond to the minors.
The Red Wings begin the regular season Oct. 14 against the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.