Expectations are high for 25-year-old Jakub Vrana this season after the talented forward arrived in Detroit late last season in the Anthony Mantha trade and promptly recorded eight goals and 11 points in 11 games. However, his 2021-22 season is not off to as smooth a start. As Kevin Allen writes for Detroit Hockey Now, Vrana arrived late to training camp due to visa issues and was only able to take the ice for the first time today. Less than ten minutes into his first session back with the team, Vrana suffered a shoulder injury and had to leave. Head coach Jeff Blashill did not have a prognosis after practice, stating only that Vrana would be “re-evaluated later”. As Allen notes, Detroit was missing Tyler Bertuzzi for nearly all of last season and don’t need another core scorer with a nagging injury again this year. Hopefully Vrana’s shoulder ailment is nothing serious.
- The New York Islanders iconic fourth line has looked a little different so far in camp with Richard Panik lining up with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck rather than Matt Martin. No, head coach Barry Trotz isn’t just breaking up a line with proven chemistry. Instead, Newsday’s Andrew Gross reports that Martin is dealing with an ankle injury. Rather than taking part in line rushes as a full participant in practice, Martin has been skating by himself so far in camp. There is no timeline for when the veteran forward might return. In the meantime, Panik will have the opportunity to show that he should not be one of many notable victims of the Islanders’ impending roster crunch.
- A scary scene occurred at Vancouver Canucks camp today as defenseman Brady Keeper has to be stretchered off the ice following an apparent seriously leg injury. As The Athletic’s Thomas Drance recalls, Keeper blocked a shot in the leg and went down in audible pain. Drance describes his state as “a ton of distress”. The stretcher was eventually brought out as Keeper could not get up under his own power. While any serious injury such as this is unfortunate, don’t underestimate the potential impact that an extensive absence for Keeper could have on the Canucks. The 25-year-old may only have two NHL games under his belt, but the market was such for the Group 6 UFA this summer that the Canucks signed him to a one-way contract and at a value above the $750K minimum. Vancouver seemingly felt that Keeper could be an NHL contributor this season, even though he is one of 11 or 12 defenders battling for a roster spot. Fortunately that depth will also help the team overcome the potential long-term loss of a player they clearly had plans for this season.