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Jakub Vrana reinstated by NHL/NHLPA player assistance program

The NHL and the NHLPA have announced that Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana can return to play after spending the past two months in the player assistance program.

Vrana was admitted into the program on Oct. 19 after registering two points in two games. The nature of the admittance was never made public, and a joint statement by the NHL and the NHLPA said his care “continues to be administered pursuant to the player assistance program.”

Vrana returned to practice for the first time since mid-October on Friday, wearing a blue non-contact jersey.

Vrana, 26, has spent parts of the past three seasons with the Red Wings, registering 32 points in 39 games. He played five years with Washington, recording 76 goals and 157 points in 284 games as one of the team’s more underrated forwards. Vrana was traded to Detroit in exchange for Anthony Mantha at the 2021 trade deadline.

While Vrana’s return to game action is unclear, his return will be a big boost on the ice for the Red Wings. He has 22 goals in 39 total games, and was a key piece of the team’s scoring core when healthy. Injuries limited him to just 26 games a year ago, but he was one of Detroit’s most dangerous forwards in that span.

The Red Wings are currently in the midst of a four-game losing streak, but are very much still in the Atlantic Division fight. The team is trying to move forward in a rebuild after amassing some quality young talent through the draft. Getting Vrana back will be a nice boost for that.

But most importantly, from a personal standpoint, it’s good to see him get back into a place where he can return to the ice and be back with his teammates again.

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