Jakub Vrana Is A Steal For Steve Yzerman And The Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman landed Jakub Vrana in a blockbuster deal that sent Anthony Mantha to the Washington Capitals. As it stands now, the Red Wings may have fleeced the Capitals.

In addition to Vrana, the Red Wings acquired veteran forward Richard Panik, a fourth-line winger, plus a first-round pick (23rd overall) in the upcoming NHL Entry Level Draft. Detroit also received a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Level Draft.

The Detroit Red Wings Won The Anthony Mantha Trade

It’s quite the return for Detroit.

It appears Mantha for Vrana would be considered a fair swap. In 50 games last season, Vrana recorded 19 goals while totaling 36 points. The 25-year old winger played only 15 minutes per night but maintained a Corsi For Percentage of 49.4% and finished the season a plus 10.

Mantha recorded 15 goals, 29 points in 56 games last season between Detroit and Washington. Mantha has recorded 25 and 24 goal seasons in the past, but over the last two years, his production has decreased.

In 2019-20 Mantha scored 16 times in 43 games, followed by the 15 last year. Mantha’s skill level has never been in question, but his overall work ethic and effort are. Unfortunately, he’s been very inconsistent, which also sways and justifies my opinion about Yzerman winning the trade.

Hopefully, Alex Tanguay Can Fix The Detroit Red Wings Power Play

One thing that stood out to me is that Vrana recorded 19 goals, but none came on the power-play. Power play and ice time in general while in Washington came at a premium. As a result, Vrana was often buried on the Capitals depth chart, but after arriving in Detroit, the highly-skilled winger replaced Mantha on the top line.

Vrana quickly became a point per game player for the Red Wings, including scoring a whopping eight goals in 11 contests. Still, none on the power-play.  Look for Vrana to score upwards of 30 goals next season, as he’s a sure-bet to skate alongside captain Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi on the teams’ top unit.

The Detroit Red Wings recently hired Alex Tanguay to replace Dan Bylsma as an assistant coach. Hopefully, Tanguay can fix the lackluster Red Wings power-play that operated at a minuscule 11.4% in 2021. The league, on average, converted on nearly 20% of their opportunities while having a man advantage.

Over his career, Vrana has been a contributor on the power-play but as a set-up man. In 2019-20 Vrana recorded 11 assists and only scored once. After seeing a small sample size of Vrana’s overall skill last season, I expect the youngster to find himself on the scoresheet quite often.

Vrana is coming off of 24, 25, and 19 goal seasons. Two years ago, he recorded the 25 in just 69 games, followed by 19 in 50 last year, as previously mentioned. So basically, a 30 goal season should not come as a surprise.

Futures Lines On The Way

With the Stanley Cup Finals underway, the 2021 NHL season is nearly complete. Once it’s over, expect futures odds to pop up at various Michigan sportsbooks, including DraftKings, PointsBet, FanDuel, and more.

About the Author

Bob Heyrman

Bob's writing is comparable to the third starter in a rotation. Sometimes he throws junk that finds the barrel of the bat and gets smacked over the fence, but the odd time he can toss a complete game shutout. Bob is an avid lifelong Detroit sports fan. Bob loves the city and can often be found downtown taking in a sporting event or a cold beverage at a local watering hole.