Jakub Vrana will be out four months for the Detroit Red Wings because of a shoulder injury that will require surgery.
The 25-year-old forward was injured during the first 10 minutes of practice Sunday, his first day in camp because of visa issues.
The Red Wings open the season at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 14.
“Ultimately we’re going to have to rely on depth more than necessarily one or two high-end guys,” coach Jeff Blashill said Thursday. “But there’s a lot of guys that haven’t necessarily proven that they’re that type of player that are top-six quote-unquote players. That doesn’t mean they can’t be that at all. It just means they’ve got to prove it, and there’s unknowns involved in that, the unknowns probably uncertainty from our aspect.
“But the positive thing for us is, we do have seven more exhibition games. I mean, we do have a lot of games to be able to look at guys and see how they do.”
Blashill referenced the New York Islanders as an example of how a team can use its depth to overcome injuries and win. The Islanders advanced to the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in consecutive seasons despite injuries to center Casey Cizikas (eye) in 2020 and captain Anders Lee (knee) in 2021.
“They do it right, meaning they’re committed to their game plan, they stay with their game plan, they don’t wander outside their systems, they play to their system structurally, and they’re just real committed to it,” Blashill said. “That’s ultimately what we’re going to need to do to have success here. We’re going to have to be super committed to it. Part of that is making sure you don’t give up easy chances and making sure you’re really good defensively, and they’ve done a good job of that.”
Vrana scored 11 points (eight goals, three assists) in 11 games for the Red Wings last season after being acquired in a trade with the Washington Capitals for forward Anthony Mantha on April 12. He won the Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018 and has scored 168 points (84 goals, 84 assists) in 295 regular-season games, and eight points (three goals, five assists) in 38 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
NHL.com columnist Nick Cotsonika contributed to this report