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Derek Lalonde: Detroit Red Wings’ Jakub Vrana trying to get ‘his game in order’

Derek Lalonde explains, in broad strokes, why Detroit Red Wings waived Jakub Vrana on Tuesday

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Derek Lalonde: Detroit Red Wings' Jakub Vrana trying to get 'his game in order'

Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde indicated Jakub Vrana’s absence this season played into the reason to expose him on waivers Tuesday.

While ultimately the decision to risk losing a top-line winger for nothing was general manager Steve Yzerman’s, it was Lalonde who parried questions after Wednesday’s morning skate at Little Caesars Arena.

“We talked about it thoroughly,” Lalonde said. “Steve and I discuss everything together. We are on the same page on everything. Ultimately it’s Steve’s decision, it’s exactly why you probably need that manager-coach layer, but weighing everything, ultimately that’s what we came up with.

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“Really don’t want to go into the details of it, especially with the situation where Jakub is, in his coming back. Want to be kind of private, personal to him. But ultimately, we had to make a decision and that was the decision.”

TRENDING:Making sense of Detroit Red Wings’ decision to risk losing Jakub Vrana for nothing

Jakub Vrana plays against the Canadiens at Little Caesars Arena, October 14, 2022.

Jakub Vrana plays against the Canadiens at Little Caesars Arena, October 14, 2022.

Vrana was reinstated by the NHL and the Players Association on Dec. 16 after spending two months in the players assistance program, designed to assist players dealing with a range of issues relating to anything from mental health to substance abuse.

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Vrana practiced with the Wings for a week before the Dec. 24-26 Christmas break. He was then assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins for what originally was supposed to be a three-game conditioning stint, but was extended to two weeks after Vrana posted no points and a minus-5 rating in three games.

ANOTHER MOVE:Detroit Red Wings assign struggling goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to minors

Vrana has been a top-six winger with a knack for scoring, but has been unavailable more often to the Wings since they acquired him at the 2021 trade deadline. He missed 56 games last season after needing shoulder surgery from an injury that had lingered since the prior season. This season, he played two games before being placed in the program, a decision made by the NHL and PA.

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NHL teams have 24 hours to claim Vrana. If no team does, he will remain in the Wings organization and with the Griffins.

“He does provide goals,” Lalonde said. “I think where he is in his game, too, you hope he gets back there, too. He’s getting his game back in order. He’s in a process of getting his game in order, hopefully to where he was. It’s all part of it. To his privacy, especially where he’s been over the last three or four months, I don’t think it would be fair to him to go through any of the details.”

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Derek Lalonde explains why Detroit Red Wings waived Jakub Vrana

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