3 weeks in, Detroit Red Wings winning Jakub Vrana-Anthony Mantha trade

Detroit Free Press

Three weeks have passed since Steve Yzerman got an A-plus for his trade deadline dealings, specifically acquiring Jakub Vrana as part of the package return for sending Anthony Mantha to the Washington Capitals.

In the small sample size so far, Vrana has won the flip of the former first-round picks.

He has six goals in nine games with the Wings, and that doesn’t include the beauty of a shootout goal in the 1-0 victory over the Lightning over the weekend, because shootout goals don’t count as individual statistics.

Vrana leads the Wings with seven points since April 12, and has played in a lineup that lacked Tyler Bertuzzi, Bobby Ryan and Robby Fabbri and, since April 20, Dylan Larkin.

Both Vrana and Mantha scored in their debuts. But Mantha hasn’t had as hot a scoring hand, with four goals total among six points. He plays in a lineup that includes Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin (Ovechkin has missed four games in the three-week span).

Mantha, 26, is minus-2 on a team competing for first in its division. Vrana, 25, is plus-2 on a team second-from-last in its division.

The Wings and Capitals each have picked up 11 points since the trade, though the Capitals have gone 5-3-1 and the Wings 4-4-3, giving Washington a better winning percentage.

Vrana made his Wings debut April 15, scoring the decisive goal in a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. On April 22, he scored four goals in a 7-3 rout over the Dallas Stars. He scored on a breakaway and a backhand, making one highlight-reel move after another. His sixth goal came Thursday in a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

One of Vrana’s deftest moves came Saturday in the shootout, when he pulled off a Peter Forsberg goal, sliding the puck to the right as he approached the net and reaching around to knock the puck in on a backhand.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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