It’s a busy news day for one of the NHL’s Original Six teams as they look to get back into the postseason hunt in the New Year.
Here’s what we learned from the club on Tuesday.
Bertuzzi “About a Week Away”
Red Wings winger Tyler Bertuzzi hasn’t played since Nov. 30 due to a hand injury — his second of the season — but it appears his return is fairly imminent. The Athletic’s Max Bultman tweeted Bertuzzi is about a week away from returning, give or take a couple of days. The two hand injuries he’s sustained have caused him to miss 26 of Detroit’s 35 games this season.
In his nine games played, the gritty winger has notched a goal and four points along with a minus-one rating. The 27-year-old is coming off a breakout season in which he tallied 30 goals and 62 points across 68 games, smashing his previous career high of 48 points in the process.
The Red Wings will hope his return can add some much-needed punch to a club that sits five points outside of the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Fabbri Set to Return for Red Wings on Wednesday
There was more positive injury news for the Wings on Tuesday as head coach Derek Lalonde said forward Robby Fabbri will return to the lineup Wednesday against the New Jersey Devils, skating on a line with Pius Suter and Oskar Sundqvist, as per Daniella Bruce on Twitter.
Fabbri has yet to play this season due to an ACL tear he suffered last season on March 10 against the Minnesota Wild. The 2014 first-round pick’s career has been littered with injuries as he hasn’t appeared in more than 61 games in any season since his rookie 2015-16 campaign in which he skated in 72 contests with the St. Louis Blues.
Fabbri enjoyed a solid season prior to his injury late year, tallying 17 goals and 30 points across 56 contests while averaging 17:20 of average ice time. It appears he will slide into a fourth-line role upon his return.
Jakub Vrana Placed on Waivers
In the most surprising Red Wings news of the day, the club has placed forward Jakob Vrana on waivers, according to TSN’s Chris Johnston. After skating in just two games this season, Vrana entered the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Upon completion, the Wings sent Vrana to AHL Grand Rapids for a conditioning stint, a stint that was recently extended to the full two weeks.
It’s unclear as to why the Red Wings have seemingly changed course on the 26-year-old forward, but if he’s claimed they will get out from under his $5.25 million cap hit through next season. The Red Wings must believe a claim seems unlikely considering his high cost and personal issues this season. Vrana was paid while he received treatment through the joint program and it was not publicly said why he entered the program.
Acquired from the Capitals in a trade involving Anthony Mantha at the 2021 NHL trade deadline, Vrana has compiled 22 goals and 32 points across 39 contests. At just 23 years of age, Vrana posted career highs with 25 goals and 52 points in 69 games with the 2019-20 Capitals. The production certainly doesn’t appear to be the issue.
The next 24 hours will tell if there are any takers for the 2014 first-round pick.
Next: Oilers Expected to Be Among Interested Teams In D Jake McCabe
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