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Detroit Red Wings expect ‘uber-talented’ Jakub Vrana to flourish in new environment

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Detroit – Just as Anthony Mantha could benefit from a fresh start in Washington, so could the new Red Wing Jakub Vrana.

There are many similarities between the two. They are somewhat comparable players and have had similar potholes this season.

It is also why many analysts believe this could ultimately be a profitable trade for both companies.

“Win-win scenario,” said Brian Lawton, NHL network analyst, who likes the short-term benefits of trading by the Capitals, given Mantha’s strengths as a player placing on Washington’s talented, large, championship-proven squads is.

However, given the potential and skill of Vrana coupled with the picks received in Detroit’s first and second rounds, most analysts believed the Wings were ahead in trade and in the long run.

More: Red Wings get high marks from analysts in the Anthony Mantha trade

“(Vrana is) a comparable player, if a little younger (25-26), more flexible in his contract and (draft picks),” Lawton said. “The draft picks, albeit a bit late (in laps), still fit the plan that (General Manager) Steve (Yzerman) is following.

“The accumulation of large numbers of draft picks will serve Detroit well. Steve recognizes talent. “

The complete deal was mantha to Washington for Vrana, striker Richard Panik, a viable veteran who can play the lineup up and down, one selection for the first round in 2021 and one selection for the second round in 2022.

The deal resonated in the NHL, and in Detroit in particular, where Mantha was seen as a cornerstone of rebuilding after signing a four-year contract extension for $ 22.8 million last summer.

But Mantha didn’t even get a full season on the contract with Yzerman, who couldn’t resist the juicy draft picks while employing comparable players at comparable points in their careers.

Yzerman said during his media chat on Monday that both players were playing below most people’s expectations.

“Anthony and Jakub are both good players, but it’s fair to say they both fall short of their historical stats,” said Yzerman. “Jakub was on a very good team with a lot of talent in Washington so we hope he does.” can play a bigger role here in our team and thrive in this situation. “

For most Wings fans, Vrana’s development in Detroit will make or break that trade. But if you examine his time in Washington, and especially this season, you will see many similarities to mantha.

Vrana, 25, has been a healthy scratch for two games in Washington this month (April 2nd and 4th), and his goal on Friday was his first in a month.

For a player who played a key role on Washington’s Stanley Cup team, scoring 25 goals and 27 assists in 69 games last season, Vrana had just 11 goals and 14 assists in 39 games this season and saw his playing time cut short has been.

Vrana appeared to be clashing with new Capitals coach Peter Laviolette, which didn’t fit with Washington’s new, more structured style of play. Vrana didn’t play well on defense and appeared to be in Laviolette’s kennel.

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Mantha obviously had many similar encounters with coach Jeff Blashill.

Laviolette approached Vrana during the Zoom media chat in Washington on Tuesday after early morning skating.

“When you say Jakub and me or Jakub and a coaching staff, it’s just the idea of ​​how a team has to play to be successful every night and certainly in the playoffs when things get tough,” said Laviolette. “It was never about a person. It’s about a style and a way that every player has to play on a successful team.

“You have to play with a certain identity and that’s what we’re trying to get through on our team and it’s not always there. It’s sometimes inconsistent across the team. Some of the conversations with Jakub revolved around that. “

When the deal was announced on Monday, Capitals GM Brian MacLellan believed Vrana was a “frustrated” gamer who needed a change of scene.

“He’s a good young player,” said MacLellan. “We won a trophy, it was part of it. Part of it was that Jakub was a little frustrated with where he is here in the organization. Probably want a little more Ice Age, want more responsibility, and there was a dragging war between the coaches and staff who had him and the way he played.

“So we had a frustrated player and we tried to keep going.”

Lawton wasn’t shocked that Washington would move Vrana as he was one of the few options MacLellan had as a basis for negotiation.

But Washington had an effective player to do with it.

“He’s an extremely talented guy,” said Lawton. “Similar to Mantha, better in some areas. His ability to score goals is high. (He had a pace of 30 goals last year, had a slightly worse year, and is still peaking at 20.

“I am optimistic about Vrana. He won a Stanley Cup in Washington and the Wings are confident it will affect the other guys.

“If Vrana can take on more responsibility and round out his game, it will be a great deal for the Red Wings.”

Blashill was quick to point out after Monday’s win in Carolina that Vrana and Panik will have the opportunity to make a “good impression” in the final month of the regular season.

Blashill said he spoke to defender Filip Hronek, who knows Vrana well, and that he feels Vrana will fit nicely into the Wings’ room from a personality standpoint. Blashill also believes Vrana’s skills will complement the team.

Blashill likes the way the Wings have adjusted to understanding how to play to be successful, with a work ethic and commitment to one another. The 3-1 win on Monday was about the tenacity and intransigence of the wings with which Carolina’s talent was overcome.

“He (Vrana) has really good speed. He’s earned points over the years he’s been in the NHL, ”said Blashill. “The expectation for Jakub, Richard and everyone else is that they will do this consistently.”

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Twitter: @tkulfan

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