The excitement of a preseason shootout win was quickly lost today. Jakub Vrana, who many (including myself) pegged as Detroit’s highest goal scorer for the upcoming season will be out for at least 4 months. The “tweak” at camp wasn’t a tweak at all.
The announcement was made around noon, and the minimal recovery window has the speedy winger out until February. That is a tough bit of news to a newly (sometimes overly) optimistic bunch of Red Wings fans.
In reality, I’d had this squad missing the playoffs. Vrana’s absence will likely enhance that. 25-30 goals was the projection (I had him hitting 30) and that’s not easily replaced in the current group. More than anything, if I’m Veleno and Raymond, I’m digging deep right about now. A top 6 spot is open (and I think injury will open even more opportunity). For these next few games, Larkin won’t be playing either. Suter will be the top center with Fabbri now returning to the middle position (until Larkin comes back in at least). Bertuzzi, Zadina and Ryan are likely the wingers with one more spot.
It’s funny, I just wrote about the contest between Veleno and Raymond. In terms of pure scoring looks at camp, Raymond looks a lot better. In terms of being more “sturdy” and an all around utility player, Veleno would of course get the nod. This is assuming that one of Erne or Rasmussen won’t get the call. At this point, anything is possible.
Detroit is so far away from the cap ceiling that they don’t need to LTIR Vrana. A trade is always possible, and Yzerman isn’t shy about going that route. Having Ryan as a tryout looks to be an even better idea now than it did a week ago. I do know that the GM won’t leave a prospect in the NHL if it’s hurting their development. Still, this opportunity is one I’m sure both JV and LR are fully aware of at this moment.
Tonight’s tilt vs Buffalo just got that much more interesting. With both those players likely to be on the ice against a potentially “diminished” opponent it could be a good chance to see them in all situations. Let’s see who, if either, can grab that spot and who wants it more.