Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik see 'great opportunity' with Detroit Red Wings

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Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
·2 min read
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Filip Hronek called and offered Jakub Vrana a place to stay. Richard Panik walked into a locker room full of familiar faces.

The newest members of the Detroit Red Wings enjoyed a smooth first day, going through practice in preparation for Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Vrana and Panik were acquired at the trade deadline as part of the package return for Anthony Mantha, who debuted Tuesday for the Washington Capitals with a goal and an assist.

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Vrana practiced with Valtteri Filppula and Michael Rasmussen. Panik was with Vladislav Namestnikov and Sam Gagner.

Washington Capitals left wing Jakub Vrana (13) skates with the puck against the New Jersey Devils at Capital One Arena.
Washington Capitals left wing Jakub Vrana (13) skates with the puck against the New Jersey Devils at Capital One Arena.

Vrana, 25, is a talented former first-round pick who should fit in well in the top six.

“I’m a strong skater. I got speed, I got a good shot,” he said. “I can create offense, create some momentum. Help the team at important moments on the ice. I’m going to do my best to fit in as quick as possible.

“I hope I can prove what I can do out there.”

Coach Jeff Blashill has Vrana in the spot previously occupied by Mantha, which creates a bit if stability for the other lines.

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Panik, 30, is a veteran of 505 NHL games that includes stops in Tampa Bay, Toronto, Chicago and Arizona. That’s how he already has familiarity with Namestnikov, Filppula and goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

Vrana is from the same draft class as Dylan Larkin and Robby Fabbri, and is good friends with Hronek.

“He called me right away, asked me if I want to stay with him,” Vrana said. “We are at a hotel right now. All the guys were really nice to me first day here. Really smooth day for me. Give me a really nice welcome.

“The trade was kind of a shock, but this is a great opportunity.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings' Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik see 'great opportunity'