Red Wings ship Jakub Vrana to Blues: Why deal is sensible for either side

The St. Louis Blues have acquired ahead Jakub Vrana from the Detroit Red Wings, the groups introduced Friday. Here’s what you’ll want to know:

  • The Red Wings, who will retain half of Vrana’s wage, obtain minor-league ahead Dylan McLaughlin and a seventh-round decide in 2025 within the deal.
  • Vrana, 27, has recorded 32 factors (22 targets and 10 assists) in 42 video games with the Red Wings over the previous three seasons.
  • He was traded to Detroit in 2021 from the Washington Capitals, the place he spent four-plus seasons and received a Stanley Cup in 2018.

The Athletic’s immediate evaluation:

Why the Red Wings traded Vrana for thus little

Despite his immense offensive expertise, the indicators have lengthy pointed towards Vrana’s days in Detroit being numbered. At one level this yr, the Red Wings waived him, displaying they have been prepared to lose him for nothing. The seventh-round decide isn’t far more than that, however by retaining half his wage and buying and selling him, will probably be barely cheaper cash-wise than it could have been to purchase him out this summer season. Notably, retaining wage does imply the Red Wings can’t retain wage in any extra trades at this deadline, although their main work is already achieved. — Bultman

What the Red Wings can do with the cap house

In the final 48 hours, with trades of Vrana, Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek, the Red Wings have cleared almost $12 million in extra wage cap house for subsequent season, even with retention on Vrana. Certainly, their departures go away huge holes to fill, however Detroit can chase a free agent (though the 2023 free agent class is mostly much less thrilling than regular) or tackle good participant whose wage now not matches for a cap-strapped group through a commerce. — Bultman

Why the Blues wished Vrana

The Blues are retooling after a disappointing season, and GM Doug Armstrong needs to stay aggressive. Vrana was interesting as a result of he’s a Stanley Cup winner with expertise who wanted a change of surroundings. With the Red Wings retaining 50 p.c of Vrana’s contract, he comes at a $2.625 million cut price in 2023-24, and Armstrong wasn’t going to move up that chance.

When he’s on, Vrana is an exceptionally proficient aim scorer. He scored almost half a aim per sport in Detroit, which might mission to greater than 40 over an 82-game season. Unfortunately, he by no means performed a full season with the Red Wings, attributable to preseason shoulder surgical procedure in 2021 and his entrance into the participant help program this season. His off-puck sport has traditionally been a supply of some frustration, nevertheless it’s value noting, he confirmed a transparent effort to enhance this since getting back from his stint within the AHL this yr. With a recent begin in St. Louis, the Blues are actually hoping this proficient participant can put all of it collectively in a brand new setting. — Rutherford and Bultman

What this implies for the Blues

In the final week, the Blues have introduced in Vrana ($2.625 million) and Kasperi Kapanen ($3.2 million) and re-signed Sammy Blais ($1 million) for a complete of $6.825 million. That leaves the Blues with $5.8 million in cap house in 2023-24 with 18 gamers underneath contract. Any additional important enhancements to the roster would require liberating up wage with the commerce of a defenseman. — Rutherford


Vrana was drafted by the Capitals at No. 13 within the 2014 NHL Draft. Through 326 profession video games, he’s recorded 98 targets and 91 assists. The Blues signed McLaughlin as a free agent final yr. He has one aim in six appearances for the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds.

The commerce deadline is Friday at 3 p.m. ET: Follow right here for reside updates.

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(Photo: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)


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