On April 12 the Washington Capitals made a trade that shocked the National Hockey League world. They sent away Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik along with a first rounder and a 2022 second rounder to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Anthony Mantha.
Some fans said good riddance to Vrana based on his recent playoff performances and inconsistencies that led to healthy scratches from head coach Peter Laviolette. Other people were wondering why the team traded the 24 year old after a combined 49 goals the previous two seasons and a decent 11 goal and 14 assist season for 25 points before the trade happened.
After the trade happened, Mantha did his best to make fans miss less of Vrana as he scored a goal in four straight games. After that little stretch however, Mantha was invisible and was practically a ghost in the playoffs along with 90% of the team.
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Vrana meanwhile was sent to a rebuilding Red Wings team but if they go on the upward trend, V will be a big reason why. In just 11 games with the Red Wings, Vrana scored eight goals and three assists for 11 points.
In a home game against the Dallas Stars on April 24, Vrana not only had a hat trick but a four goal performance. He continued his upward trend at the World Championships for the Czech Republic. He had two goals and two assists for four points in seven games.
Vrana was basically a gift to the Red Wings and to the city of Detroit, we say thank you. Brian MacLellan traded Vrana based on his attitude. In an article from Ian Oland of Russian Machine Never Breaks, MacLellan spoke more on the issue:
“He was a good young player. We won a Cup. He’s a part of it. He’s a nice person. Highly skilled. Great speed. I think part of it was Jakub’s a little frustrated where he’s at here in the organization. Probably wants some more ice time. Wants more responsibility. There was a tug of war between coaching staff and staffs that have had him and the way he was playing. I think we had a frustrated player and we tried to move on from that.”
The Caps will likely wish they kept Vrana around as Mantha was much slower and made the team look even more sluggish come playoff time. Losing Vrana’s speed was costly and it really could come back to bite them.