DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings placed forward Jakub Vrana on waivers two-plus weeks after he returned from the player assistance program set up by the NHL and NHL Players’ Association.
It also comes a week after he was assigned to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins on a conditioning loan. The 26-year-old from the Czech Republic has 98 goals and 91 assists in 323 career regular-season games.
The NHL and NHLPA started the player assistance program in 1996, giving players access to a confidential phone line and counselors in each city in the league. The jointly funded group assists players and their families with mental health, substance abuse and other matters.
Vrana had a goal and an assist in a win at New Jersey in October – one of two games he’s played in this season – and wasn’t in uniform for the next game against the Los Angeles Kings due to personal reasons.
“There’s bigger things than hockey in life and you have to get it in order,” Vrana said last month. “You have to make some decisions that are important in your life and then hockey.”
Vrana was selected by Washington with the No. 13 pick in the 2014 draft. Detroit acquired Vrana in a trade with the Capitals in April 2021, along with Richard Panik, a first- and second-round pick in exchange for Anthony Mantha. Last year, the Red Wings gave him a three-year contract worth $5.25 million per season.
Detroit, which is four games over .500, next hosts the New Jersey Devils.