from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Derek Lalonde had a couple compliments for Jakub Vrana that hint at the relative newcomer's potential to impact the Detroit Red Wings.
Though Vrana has been with the Wings for 18 months, he only squeezed in 11 games after arriving at the 2021 trade deadline, and missed the first 56 games last season recovering from shoulder surgery. Vrana has 21 goals in the 37 games he's played in a Wings uniform, and his ability to score sometimes seemingly out of nowhere registers with new head coach Derek Lalonde, who saw that in spades while an assistant with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Offense is tough to come by and you need some of those offensive playmakers," Lalonde said Friday. "I came from a team where it did not take much for us to create offense, and it just helps with those guys, those elite finishers — you need them. That’s the reality of it, if you’re going to be successful in this league. We certainly have one in him."
Coaches like a guy who can score, but love a guy who plays a complete game. That's what the Wings need to see from Vrana, 26, and his response to their instructions just from the first day of camp to the second were an encouraging sign.
"In yesterday’s practice, we addressed some things, pointed out some things where he can be a little bit better away from the puck," Lalonde said. "He’s impressive with the puck, certainly. Sometimes you know guys are skilled guys, but until you’re actually with them on the ice, you don’t get an appreciation of how skilled. Man, he’s got a special shot. He’s got some offensive tools that are very special. But, hopefully a little more accountable away from the puck. To his credit, I thought he was better today on the whole. He stood out with some effort and some compete. He had his nose in everything, the high-compete drills, the physical reps. He looked good."
Below, watch two minutes with Ville Husso.