Red Wings' Jakub Vrana to see specialist about injured shoulder
Traverse City — The news is beginning to sound less promising regarding Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana.
Vrana injured his shoulder Saturday about 10 minutes into his first practice of training camp. Coach Jeff Blashill said Sunday that Vrana will see a specialist Monday to get another opinion.
Blashill expects to know more, possibly by Tuesday.
“I’ll have more update as I find more relevant information,” Blashill said.
Vrana, one of the Wings' true goal scorers, was a late arrival to training camp from Europe after having visa issues. He got to camp Friday evening, made practice Saturday, then suffered the injury.
Not having Vrana would be a blow to the Wings' lineup, already searching for offense.
Vrana, who came from Washington in the deal for Anthony Mantha at the March trade deadline, quickly made an impression. He had eight goals and three assists (11 points) in 11 games with the Wings.
Vrana, 25, was a restricted free agent during the summer. He signed a three-year contract worth $15.75 million ($5.25 million salary cap hit, per season) in August.
Blashill kept Vrana, Dylan Larkin and Marc Staal out of Sunday's Red & White scrimmage. Not playing Larkin was part of the plan after he suffered a neck injury in April.
Larkin has skated and participated in the opening days of training camp, but the Wings are having Larkin avoid any major physical contact. Blashill said Larkin may not play until later this week.
“We got a progression we’re working through and part of that was not to put him in today’s game," Blashill said. "Part of it is not going in those early exhibition games. But he’ll get in there eventually. I’d like to get him in probably three (games).
“I prefer some of those veteran guys get in the latter half (of exhibition season) so they can hit the ground running once we get into the regular season.”
With seven defensemen already in each lineup Sunday, Blashill didn't feel the need for the veteran Staal to play.
“Staal’s been through this league a long time, I just didn’t feel it was necessary to put him in,” Blashill said.
It was assumed that if Joe Veleno is going to make the Wings' opening night lineup, it would likely be at center. But Blashill isn't ruling out the possibility of Veleno playing wing.
“Obviously there are unforeseen things like injuries,” Blashill said. “Let’s see where it goes. The biggest thing is he has to make a statement every time he’s on the ice that he’s going to make us better.
“If (Veleno) is a much better player than some of the guys we foresee in those spots, and if we can find a spot in the top nine, then it’s a discussion.”
Path for Ryan
In camp on a professional tryout, forward Bobby Ryan is battling for a roster spot.
Ryan scored seven goals for the Wings last season before triceps surgery stopped him. An unrestricted free agent, he went un-signed. The Wings felt Ryan was a positive influence on many of the young forwards on the roster, but not many spots are available.
"Bobby is skating good," Blashill said. "There's always a path (to make the team). If you play great hockey, there's always a path, so we'll see.
"I certainly think there could be a path. He's moving similar to how he was moving at the beginning of last season. There hasn't been any drop off. He started last year and was able to have success."
Prospects forward Jonatan Berggren (upper body) and defenseman Jared McIsaac (concussion), both of whom were hurt during the prospects tournament, are progressing, Blashill said. But it's unlikely either will practice until Tuesday at the earliest.