Jakub Vrana re-signed on Tuesday and Detroit Red Wings fan rejoiced. With another RFA off the list, the final three still to be signed are be Filip Hronek, Givani Smith, and Adam Erne. The latter of three has an arbitration hearing on August 21.
Vrana’s three-year, $5.25M AAV deal is an investment in what general manager Steve Yzerman and fans hope will be the same production seen in Washington and then in his 11 games in Detroit. Vrana has a chance to play more in Detroit, and with a lineup that will be healthy, the chance to build upon his previous performance improves already.
With Tyler Bertuzzi back presumably and an assistant coach who can hopefully find a system that best utilizes the talent, the man advantage stands to get see the biggest boost as adding Vrana could provide either depth with him on another line or even stacking him on a line with the likes of Bertuzzi, who was one of the few scoring goals before his injury.
When Anthony Mantha was signed to an extension last season, it felt like the core was in good shape and it just needed one of its best players to stay healthy. Instead, Mantha seemed to be disengaged during stretches of the season, found himself a healthy scratch and in the end, was dealt to Washington which brought Vrana over.
Yzerman is targeting players who don’t take shifts off, something that dogged Mantha from almost the beginning. It feels that maybe there’s more of a permanence with Vrana in Detroit, even if he struggles during the season.
Red Wings’ Captain feeling better
The Athletic’s Max Bultman had a story about Larkin and talked to him about his health and how he feels he’s progressing. Here’s a snippet of what Larkin said, adding that he feels “refreshed and ready to go.”
“It’s something that is weekly, daily, it depends — I just have to still be cautious,” Larkin said. “I’m trying to push myself to be ready, and I think I will, but there’s still a little bit of an unknown with how everything’s going to respond. But so far, it’s looking good and I’m excited.”
So that gives some pause. Bultman adds later that when the Red Wings hit camp on September 23, it remains to be seen where Larkin’s recovery is and if he hits all the “checkpoints” necessary before he’s deemed to be “fully back in action.”
Precautions are definitely necessary here. But boy, not going to lie, I’d much rather read that he’s feeling 100% and is ready to go. But here’s hoping the slow deliberate process eases him back into being the gamebreaker he can be.