The St. Louis Blues achieved their first player reception of the 2023 NHL trade season by acquiring winger Jakub Vrana from the Detroit Red Wings.
The 27-year-old native of the Czech Republic remains under contract through the 2023-24 season. Perhaps more importantly, Detroit will retain half of his $5.25 million cap hit leading up until then. That’s roughly $2.6 million.
Vrana hasn’t played all that much this season since being reinstated by the league after spending the first couple months of the season in their player assistance program, dealing with an unknown personal issue.
He has 1 goal and 1 assist in 5 games played in 2022-23. While with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate, he scored 6 goals with 5 assists in 17 games played.
Vrana is a former Stanley Cup winner with the Washington Capitals when they won in the 2017-18 season. He managed 73 games played that year, and scored 13 goals with 14 assists for 27 total points. Vrana played his first 4 years in the league with the Caps before being traded to Detroit in April 2021.
The main reason why St. Louis wanted Vrana was that in their continuing rebuilding quest, they needed someone who is a proven winner, just like Vrana, a Stanley Cup champion. He’s also someone with talent that needs a so-called change in scenery, evidenced by his lack of playing time this season with Detroit.
When he’s on the ice, Vrana definitely has goal-scoring potential, something the Blues need badly ASAP if they want to quickly turn things around for 2023-24. And Vrana specifically, on occasion, managed nearly a goal per game with Detroit. That’s a stat line alone that any struggling team would kill for.
St. Louis sent one of their minor league affiliate players to the Wings as part of the deal with Vrana. Dylan Mclaughlin, an AHL veteran with Rockford and then Springfield, is still with the Thunderbirds, the Blues’ AHL affiliate, for the moment. He’s never suited up in an NHL game in his career and has only managed a handful of games with the T-Birds due to a broken ankle, keeping him off the ice for 45 games.