In just 11 games as a Detroit Red Wing, Jakub Vrana has already proven himself as a top-six forward on the team. But in the sort of deep-rebuild Detroit is in the midst of, even the best members of the roster could very well be dealt – and Vrana is one of them.
No One Is Safe
If the Anthony Mantha trade wasn’t enough, the Tyler Bertuzzi trade rumors should teach Detroit fans one thing about this offseason: don’t get too attached to a player on the roster (Unless said player is Dylan Larkin, Moritz Seider or Lucas Raymond). When the Detroit Red Wings’ rebuild began to really set in a few years ago, the three brightest spots were Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. Only Larkin’s future seems certain with the organization.
Although Vrana already looks like one of the better players on the team, there is nothing stopping Steve Yzerman from trading him if the right deal comes along. At 25, he is by no means old – but he’s just a year younger than Bertuzzi and Mantha. Vrana is either in his prime or will be entering it soon, which is just a bit too early for an ideal rebuild timeline. Yes, it’s important to have transitional or “bridge” players that can help bring a young team from mediocrity to success, but if another team is willing to dish out the right return, it’d be hard for Yzerman to say no.
After he was acquired from Washington in the Mantha trade, Vrana had quite the showing in his first stint as a Detroit Red Wing. He scored eight goals and three assists in just 11 games, giving an instant shot of adrenaline to the team’s offense.
Vrana is a borderline elite goal scorer; certainly the best on Detroit’s roster. At 25, he still has a good four to five years of top-level play – he’s in his “prime”. Again, this doesn’t necessarily fit Detroit’s rebuild timeline. As Vrana’s play starts to trend downwards, Detroit will likely become a consistent playoff team. If Yzerman is looking at it purely through the lens of asset management, it would probably be the right move to put a “for sale” sign on Vrana and get teams to overpay.
Without any trade offers to ponder, it’s hard to say for certain whether Vrana should be traded. Yeah, he’s probably on the trading block, but he shouldn’t be moved just for the sake of gaining relatively equal capital for the future.
For a top-end talent like Vrana, Yzerman should only consider what fans would call “fleeces”. If a desperate team like Montreal makes an ill-advised proposal for short term gains, then the trade is definitely worth it.
As the rebuild starts to move to its’ winning phase, players will need to be there to guide it along. Guys like Vrana and Larkin will be key in this development, as the older talent can help the youth develop and grow. However, Vrana should not be off the trade table. If a team sends a kings ransom for the Czech, it’d be worth it to ship him out of town. Whether or not his future is in Detroit, he’s an important part of the rebuild – either as a guiding figure or as a trade piece.