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Despite the fact that Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana missed the first 3/4 of the 2021-22 NHL season after recovering from surgery thanks to an injury suffered in training camp, he still demonstrated a flair for scoring goals, tallying 13 goals with six assists in the 26 games he appeared in.
He'll be looking for bigger and better things this year with Detroit, who will feature plenty of new faces in the lineup thanks to a massive offseason free-agent shopping spree by GM Steve Yzerman.
Yeah, I feel like they're great additions to the team," Vrana said while appearing on Elliotte Friedman's "32 Thoughts" podcast. "All these guys have been the League....we have a young group in Detroit and great potential within the team. Moe Seider just won the Calder, Lucas Raymond had a hell of a season, Tyler Bertuzzi with 30 goals, Larks....we have potential in our team, and we keep it constant within the season. And now with all these additions, I'm excited to join the group and training camp and get the chemistry started."
One of his new teammates is fellow Czech native Dominik Kubalik, whom Yzerman was able to entice away from the Chicago Blackhawks.
"It literally just started to pop up on my phone," he said. "I texted Kubalik right away and I just saw him in Czech of living in Detroit and stuff like that of where he should live. I told him to live in downtown, but everyone else lives in suburbs, so he doesn't want to do that."
The hosts seemed surprised that Vrana lives in downtown Detroit, which has certainly taken more than its fair share of reputation hits over the years.
"Yep, I love it! It's so close to the rink, I'm not a morning person," he said. "I'm there in four minutes, so it's perfect. And we have the practice rink and the game rink in the one spot so it's awesome. Everyone is so surprised and shocked, but I don't know the reason why, though. I'm nice and close to the rink, downtown lots of restaurants there, and I mean obviously we're busy with the traveling so I'm not home much, either."
Vrana was also quick to compliment his teammate Moritz Seider, who earned the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best rookie.
"First of all, it didn't look like his first season in the NHL, he was very solid and shocked everyone with his toughness that he brings to the NHL," he said. "And of course, offensively he was great. ON both sides of the ice, he did great and I thought he definitely deserved to win the Calder."