The Detroit Red Wings pulled a surprise move Tuesday and placed Jakub Vrana on waivers.
It was known they would have to waive a player in order to activate Robby Fabbri, who will make his season debut Wednesday when the Wings host the New Jersey Devils.
Vrana is currently on a conditioning assignment in the minors. He was reinstated Dec. 16 after two months in the players assistance program.
Being placed on waivers means other NHL teams have 24 hours to claim Vrana. If no team does, he will remain in the Wings organization and with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL.
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Vrana practiced with the Wings for a week, then was assigned to Grand Rapids after the Christmas break. Coach Derek Lalonde said Monday that Vrana’s assignment had been extended from one week to the full two weeks.
Vrana, 26, is a top-line winger with a knack for scoring. But he has not played much for the Wings since arriving as part of the trade that sent Anthony Mantha to the Washington Capitals at the 2021 trade deadline. Vrana missed 56 games last season recovering from shoulder surgery he underwent after showing up late to training camp.
He played two games this season before being placed in the program, which is designed to assist players dealing with a range of issues relating to anything from mental health to substance abuse.
Vrana is under contract through 2023-24 with a salary cap hit of $5.25 million.
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.