Photo: Gustaf Lundberg

With the 13th overall pick in the Draft, the Washington Capitals have selected 18-year-old Czech winger Jakub Vrana out of Linkoping of the SHL. The pick was surprising considering that Vrana was ranked 23rd overall in Craig Button’s ranking.

Vrana’s stock slightly fell throughout the year. His Linkoping made it to the semifinals of the SHL playoffs. Vrana had two goals and one assist in 24 regular season games, spending a significant portion of the season with Linkoping’s junior squad.

The native of Prague, Vrana is an offensive-minded forward that plays a skilled game. Scouts praise Vrana’s speed and goal-scoring ability, while admitting he can be a bit selfish at times, and his play away from the puck could use some work.

Vrana, who stands at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds also played for Team Czech Republic in the U18 World Championships and the World Junior Championships this past season, contributing eight goals and ten points in seven games at U18 level as well as one goal and one assist in five games with the U20 team.

Barring a trade, the Caps are not expected to pick until 44th selection.

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  • Ryan Kohn

    Corey Pronman had him ranked 13th, FWIW.

  • Smatter

    Seriously what the…… Another undersized right wing? I thought we were making a change. Too bad the this is closed right now, because I might be calling to cancel my tickets. When will these guys learn?

  • GetchaGrubbOn

    Welcome to the squad, kid.

  • OVECHKING

    Well folks, this confirms why the caps stuck “in house” with GM. Another fucking “skilled” undersized winger. GMBM is another sock puppet for Ted and Dick. Reset your clocks folks, 17 new years of mcpheediocrity has started.

  • Smatter

    This is essentially the uncensored version of what I wanted to write. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh…….

  • ENOUGH

    YOU JERKS WILL NEVER BE HAPPY, WILL YOU?!?!

    GO AHEAD. CANCEL YOUR TICKETS. WE WILL NOT MISS YOU AND YOUR HYPERBOLIC BS.

  • Brian MacLellan

    We’re going “small ball”!

  • Owen Johnson

    That’s a bit extreme. I’d like to at least see the guy play before calling him a bust.

  • Owen Johnson

    Maybe he was the top player on their boards?

  • Bilal

    I’m not saying he’s guaranteed to become a sick prospect, but wasn’t everyone freaking out when we selected Burakovsky last season? just sayin’. Give the kid a chance

  • OVECHKING

    Folks this isn’t about the prospect itself rather the directional change this organization had to take and NEEDED to take. It hasn’t. This just indicates that the franchise will continue conducting itself like it was under mcphee. What does that “old” regime have to show for the last 17 years? No success.

  • IafrateNoGhosts

    With Neuvy, Erat and even Vokoun gone, Caps needed to maintain their Quota of Czech players to trade away in the future for minimal returns.

  • no

    Yes another euro guy, but so what, he can score, good chance in a few years he will be good for 30 goals

  • OVECHKING

    What are the caps going to do with more wingers on their NHL roster when they lack defence and strong two way centers? I can tell you one thing they will never do, and thats win the Stanley cup. No team with an organizational philosophy which stresses building on the wings wins Stanley Cups. Not a example in history.

  • Jack Conness

    I kinda wish we traded the pick down or took Honka. DeAngelo would have been nice. Ho Sang would have been badass later in the draft. This pick, eh. I just don’t know.

  • Barrett

    How about a CENTERMAN. Because you currently have two : Nicklas Backstrom and Jay Beagle. Dylan Larkin or Alex Touch would have a better chance on this team to make an impact.

  • Smatter

    Yeah… This jerk…This is the first time I have been incensed enough to post a comment on a website anywhere. I have been a loyal season ticket holder for many years.

    If they can’t show themselves to even be making a concerted effort on their two way game, I’m not sure I can do it anymore!

  • Dave

    I kinda agree with this. You can’t judge McLellan by just one draft pick, but I do agree that you can judge a GM’s strategy after a long series of them. So the assumption in the criticism is that GMBM is just continuing with GMGM’s strategy. That may be true, but it’s way too early to tell.

    The other issue is that there’s some lead time between drafting a prospect and having them play on the Caps, so even drafting a d-man doesn’t solve that issue for next season (another reason why the criticism is unfair). But it’s true that the Caps haven’t done a great job addressing their top needs recently, so I get the frustration.

  • OVECHKING

    Smart people wouldn’t support this franchise financially until they showed a commitment to winning. I guess you are not one of them. Why would someone log in on the same name and trash their own comment. Seems a little fishy.

  • Barrett

    Nobody said he’ll be a bust, but the team is loaded with offensive talent and lacks defense or two way play.

  • Owen Johnson

    So you’re drawing doomsday conclusion after one pick?

  • Smatter

    This is why I probably shouldn’t post it as a guest. I did not write the above. And do not agree with it. Signed the real “Smatter”

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I’m not sure one draft pick can accurately confirm or disprove any kind of sea change in the team’s philosophy.

  • OVECHKING

    I don’t get why people are talking about last years draft with Burakovsky. That was 2013. This is 2014, the caps had the option with Larkin, McCann, Barbashev all in this draft. They picked a total of 0 of them. All could have been developed into strong 2C.

  • Fedor

    Especially at 13th overall.

  • Freedoooom

    You aren’t Ross Mahoney.

  • Fedor

    Yeah, highest of all rankings I analyzed. Average is 21.5

  • OVECHKING

    Peter, after this pick, you are not even going to raise an eyebrow? Even after many reports in this town said the entire situation around the hiring of Bmac was “fishy” and “not right” from the beginning?

    Please tell me it has at least put some doubt in your head (however small it may have been). Its hard for me to imagine how it cant.

  • OVECHKING

    GMBM “good friends with Mchphee for the last 8 years”. Been with the franchise for longer and a guy who’s been here for 16 years is now the Assistant GM. This is not doomsday. Its Mcphee part duex.

  • Ben

    There is this thing called trading. Sometimes NHL teams do that.

  • OVECHKING

    I don’t have to be Ross Mahoney to see that the caps had the option of drafting one of three very capable 2C to fill this teams perennial problem of center depth.

  • Derek Wass

    My take on this whole conundrum is that much of defense is hard work and determination. Ive played on multiple teams in different sports. It helps to be athletic, but defense is often played best by those who are willing to put their body out there to make the stop. Skill plays less into defense than getting people to buy in and work hard. It might be better to develop d-men and work on changing the culture, not draft new ones all out.

  • OVECHKING

    The caps do that very well right… ?

  • Owen Johnson

    Look, I’ll admit I wasn’t really excited about GMBM’s hiring. I’m not necessarily thrilled about this pick, but drafting in any sport is a crapshoot. But I’m going to at least wait until free agency to trash him. This is a long term process. The only thing we can do is wait and see with this.
    And yes, I understand Leonsis is better at making money than building a contender. That doesn’t make him a sniveling, conniving, Scrooge. He’s not Kim Jong-Dan.

  • Owen Johnson

    Maybe GMBM does. We don’t know yet.

  • OVECHKING

    @VogsCaps: Vrana played most of his life at rink owned by ex- #Caps defenseman Frantisek Kucera, whose brother Vojtech Kucera is a longtime Caps scout.

    There’s the connection for you all. The WashingtonCaps always doing favours for its “family”.

  • Marky Narc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLlLtSG7xe4

    bam bam bam bam
    ba bam bam bam bam
    I Vrana be sedated

    bam bam bam bam
    ba bam bam bam bam
    I Vrana be sedated….

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I’m just saying one point of data doesn’t a trend make. I’m not even sure I understand what you’re suggesting.

  • Bilal
  • Sarah

    Hey everybody this guy asked me out for tomorrow night. His name is Pete. WE HAVEN’T GOT MARRIED AND HAD KIDS YET. GOD I AM F—ING DOOMED. THIS PROVES IT. #Melodrama

  • It’s me

    Gives me a little hope that we aren’t going to become the new Nashville. I like the pick.

  • Sarah

    Honka if you love Jim Nill! Sorry.

  • OVECHKING

    Hope. We’ve been told to hope for the last 17 years. I guess another few more years of relying on “hope” will not hurt

  • Ben

    We don’t know whether those guys will develop into NHL quality 2c’s lets give it some time. Its only been 30 minutes

  • Luke Anthony

    We already have Bowey, Carrick, Orlov, Djoos, Alzner, and Carlson. It’s not THAT much of a need in terms of prospects.

  • davidgrant

    The scouting report I read said that he is a natural center, but has been playing wing. Maybe GMBM drafted him to be a center.

    As for helping our defense that can be addressed in free agency.

    Relax, dude.

  • Luke Anthony

    Surprised by this, not saying it’s a bad pick but had a pretty underwhelming season. Then again so did Burakovsky, so we’ll see.

  • Sarah

    Ding! That is the correct response. ;)

  • Kyle Reid

    There are other players I would have liked and I would have liked to trade up or down and take a centre or D-man but I think he’s underrated. Could be a good pick or part of a trade piece.

  • GMGMNeverBreaks

    MacLellan said that *all else being roughly equal*, they would like to pick a center or defenseman. Picking Vrana doesn’t mean they don’t want to shift emphasis to drafting centers and defensemen. All picking Vrana means is that they didn’t think the centers and defensemen available at #13 were “roughly equal” to Vrana in terms of skill and potential. I’ve read prospect rankings, scouting reports, and mock drafts but I don’t think that qualifies me to judge whether Vrana is roughly equal to the centers and defensemen available at #13. I, for one, am withholding judgment and wish people like OVECHKING would quit whining.

  • Kyle Reid

    Could have even gone with Fabri, McCann or Barbashev (who we can still trade up and get in the 2nd round).

  • Kyle Reid

    We can still get Barbashev and, if GMBM is smart, he will trade up and steal him early in the 2nd round.

  • Owen Johnson

    All you can do right now.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Loved it. At 13 no obvious picks. Why not swing for the fences with Vrana.

  • Chris Cerullo

    And that’s going to be addressed with the 13th pick this year? I think we understand that defense is an issue. It will be addressed through other means.

  • Chris Cerullo

    You need to chill out. It’s one fucking pick. You want them to reach on Honka or Deangelo instead? Which defender would have been a better selection? They tried to move up for Fleury but couldn’t. Get a grip.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Honka went directly after this though

  • Pat Magee

    I don’t have a problem with it. Poor kid is a capital for 2 hours and he’s already crushed our playoff hopes for this season….

  • Roy Schue

    Hate to break it to you, but if your as hockey smart as you THINK you are….you would be employed in the NHL, not b**chin n whining on blogs

  • Semintheghost

    I would love that.

  • JenniferH

    Mac tried to get Fleury and when that didn’t work, it looks like they looked at what was available and decided that although they wanted a D or C, they ultimately went with what they felt was best… which is what they said they were going to do. I refuse to lambast them for one pick. And I like what I see of this kid. He could be another Burakovsky, or he could be great trade bait. I’m holding out to see what happens when the season starts, and how we play. THAT will be the determination for how this new configuration of front office and team is.

    That is when I’ll judge, not before then. Mac is NOT GMGM. Whatever similarities anyone thinks are there are between the two, it’s all just conjecture at this point, working together, friends or not. We won’t know until we actually see the games and the scoreboard and standings how alike or not as GMs they are. I’m going to judge then, not now, and certainly not based on one draft pick.

  • Joe LaCour

    Jakub Vrana Nikto

  • Rob W.

    A tiny puck moving D-man is the last thing we need

  • OlietheGoalie

    Ovechking trolls every Caps place he can. Just ignore him – he likes being abrasive.

  • Hockeynightincanada

    No, but he’s certainly put more reasoning to his posts than anyone responding about the players drafted. You don’t have to have a job in the business to be hockey knowledgeable, and let’s be honest, we have more than enough reasons to question the moves this organization has made for nearly the last two decades and maybe counting.

    I honestly was hoping we would land Fabbri. His game really improved with the Storm during the playoffs. Ritchie went a lot sooner than I expected. Big forward who will lay the body out and park himself in the crease. Hope to see some of these kids find success with their clubs. They’re a hell of a lot of fun to watch in Jrs.

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Addressed with what exactly? Have you seen the FA market this summer? Not exactly what you would call even close to a temporary fix unless you have your blueline ready to go and need a single piece or two to solidify that. The Caps have major glaring holes and it’s something that will have to be addressed via trade if this is to be an overnight fix. Otherwise, cross your fingers and hope that we find a true top-calibre D-man in the greater rounds, which you’d think we’re bound to eventually run into some kind of luck given we haven’t developed a true top defenseman since Sergei Gonchar.

  • Roy Schue

    I normally don’t insult people, he just complains and complains all the time on every single article. It just gets a little old. And yeah I personally was hoping we would trade up n get Haydn Fluery

  • OVECHKING

    And you just keep spewing your same old hope for this crap every thread over and over again. Its just getting a little old with these fans who don’t know anything about hockey but think they do.

  • OVECHKING

    And you come to every article to point me out as a troll rather than debate any of the points I made that you obviously disagree with. Your incompetence and lack of hockey knowledge is to explain for your apparent inability to engage in meaningful conversation so you resort to personal attacks. The real troll here is you buddy.

  • Roy Schue

    What? You mean fans who actually root for their teams. I bet your that guy who is the first person to boo at your team. You know that guy that everybody in his section can’t stand. Oh I guess you wouldn’t know cause your just oblivious to how annoying your moaning n whining is. You don’t like the caps then go find another team to rip on.

  • OVECHKING

    I’ve yet to see you make one intelligent comment regarding this entire situation. You’re probably one of those fans who comes to a hockey game to pay for overpriced beer and get drunk. Later telling your buddies at work or over a cooler how wasted you got at the game the night before.

    Can’t handle people debating something wrong with a franchise they support, then don’t reply. I’ve supported this franchise before when there was actual hope and long before you probably knew what a hockey stick was used for… then I matured and grew up and saw what Ted was actually about. Maybe you’ll come to the realization one day. Probably take a few more coached and GMs to be fired.

  • Searle

    Trade up and get Barbashev! Save the draft!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Dude, I gotta say this again. This is a place for conversation, not calling people stupid. If you would like to have a productive debate, you might try ratcheting down the invective tone stuff. You can make 100% of the points you’re making without being antagonistic. If you do continue like this, don’t be surprised when people call you a troll. And if you want to call those people out for “personal attacks,” it’ll go better for you if you don’t make personal attacks yourself.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Eh, fuck it.

    You’re banned.

  • OlietheGoalie

    Ugggggggggggggggggggggggh that joke.

  • OlietheGoalie

    GMGM, is that you?

  • OlietheGoalie

    Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank you.

  • RESmith

    You hit the nail on the head.

  • RESmith

    DeAngelo had character issues related to TWICE violating the OHL’s harassment, abuse and diversity policy. One was for directing a slur at a teammate. I’m glad he is not on our team.

  • davidgrant

    So you expect to find an 18 year old d-man in the draft to help us next year?

    You should always draft the best player available.

  • RESmith

    Vrana was a definitely a bit of a reach at thirteen, but let me go on record as saying I don’t think this was a bad pick. The only criticism I would levy is that the Caps could have traded down and still had Vrana if he was there guy after Fluery. But pf course, none of us are at the table, so we don’t know if that trade was available or not. Being that the Caps used the full time allotted to make the pick, I will give them the benefit of the doubt on that.

    Eventhough I liked Scherbak more (again at a lower draft position), let me go on record and say I don’t think Vrana is a bad pick. Yeah, he is bit undersized and didn’t have the season some expected him to with Linkoping and the SHL, but everything I read and watched on him makes me think there is a small tad of Peter Bondra to his game. He shares some of that elite speed as well as that sniper’s mentality that he is willing to shoot often and from anywhere. Yeah, he is a boom or bust type pick, but the upside is very intriguing.

    As for as the Burakovsky comparison, yes, it is the same. Both we kind of buried in a men’s league in Sweden in their draft year and both had the reputation of being highly skilled but under-preforming going into their respective drafts. Our scouts covering the Swedish leagues have arguably been our best and most consistent and Vrana has played in Sweden for two seasons. If they had him ranked high, I have some trust in that.

  • OviandOil

    i was really surprised by the Vrana selection. I thought the caps would’ve gone with Honka,Barbashev,Larkin Milano etc. I was disappointed at first but going and looking at this guy’s profile makes me believe this guy could be a top 5 goal scorer from this draft. His size and weight is a bit on the small side, but eveyone drafted outside the top 10 is around the small. I really think the caps got a solid player, who could become a goal scoring machine, If he played in the CHL i honestly think he would be a 50+ goal scorer and maybe even 80+ points

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Again, please re-read my post. Name a defenseman out on the free agent market that will be an instant fix to our blueline. A lot of those guys are better served for a team that just needs that final piece. We have plenty of glaring holes that cannot be addressed via free-agency. Therefore, we
    1.) Give up prospects and or picks to acquire that Defenseman via trade OR
    2.) Scout out and Draft those defensemen in the later rounds and develop their game over the course of a few seasons.

    Personally, I’d go with the former just based on how terribly we do when it comes to developing defensemen and power forwards at the NHL level.

    Also, no. Taking a defenseman in the draft does not mean an instant solution to the team. What I’m saying is the Capitals have done an incredibly poor job not only drafting defensemen over the years (exception being Orlov, Green, and Carlson before ruining Green and Carly’s development), but developing their game. The most concerning aspect is that they do such a terrible job in the later rounds, where you will usually find the quality defensemen that the team needs. So, I believe in drafting the best player to the team’s need. Not the best player available.

  • Roy Schue

    No it was me, came up as guest cause I was on my phone and not my iPad

  • Sarah

    Peter, I could kiss you!

  • Graham Dumas

    If feel like you’re actually talking about something else, here… Just can’t quite… put… my… finger on it.

  • Sarah

    Sorry got carried away. But thanks!

  • Jadegold2000

    Hey HNIC, long time , the GBB have their own site now. Please check it out. We’ve missed your presence.
    http://gbbhockey.freeforums.net/

  • Ross Herman

    So like alex semin light?

  • Ash

    That banning was as satisfying as watching Matt Bradley deck Matt Cooke that time.

  • DCSportsDork

    Another great video of Jakub Vrana.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZU9ME3k7u4

    I went to the draft and was able to get his autograph and a photo with him. In person, he is exactly like he is in this video except with much more confidence (it helps with time since that video is a year and a half old) and has a very fun and bubbly personality. Looking forward to watching him.

    He is a bit of a small guy (5-11, 185 but looks a bit lighter in person), so he probably won’t come to DC until at least 2016, and that will be after he tears it up in the Swedish Hockey League (or if GMBM is like GMGM was, he would force him to play in the CHL and then Hershey). If he stays in Europe, he has to score, at least, a point per 2 games (the same as Mojo did before he joined the Caps) and then be the best Czech forward at the WJC to show that he is developing nicely.

  • HockeyCoachBen

    Except many agree the Caps didn’t do that with Vrana. Caps picked at 13…he was rated anywhere between 20 & 45. I’m sure there were others available that fit the “best player available” bill.

    Same goes for the goalie selection in the second round, they panicked, traded up and picked a 3rd-4th rounder that they targeted. Hardly best available at the time!

    I’m not saying none of these picks will work out, but they are perplexing and go against the stated game plan for the draft. That concerns me.

  • HockeyCoachBen

    Because your stated strategy was “best available player”. You don’t go off the board and swing for the fences in the Top 20. You take the best available player at the time of your selection. This is the reason why TSN & CBC both called the Caps the big losers of Round 1.

  • HockeyCoachBen

    From NHL Central Scouting:

    NOTES: Blazing speed, incredible stickhandling, has a tendency to be selfish with the puck, stops playing when he expects a pass to come & it doesn’t.

    PROJECTION: Inconsistent 2nd line scorer and PP specialist.

    STYLE COMPARES TO: Patrik Elias, minus the commitment.

    Everyone say hello to the Czech-version of Alexander Semin!

  • JenniferH

    Bless you.

  • Chris Cerullo

    This is a weak draft. After the top 10 there is no such thing as a BPA. They did fine and they’ve scouted this guy thoroughly.

  • HockeyCoachBen

    So 11 through 210 are all the same? Even though it’s a relatively weak draft this year, there was still a best player out of the remaining 200 guys. There was also a guy at the 5th best spot, the 25th best and the 125th best. Otherwise, why have a draft at all? Just pull names from a hat or have a computer do the picking.

    Also, the Caps may have scouted individual players thoroughly. So did about 500 other scouts…many of them working for agencies like ISS, NHLCS and others. The consensus of those 500 scouts was Vrana was a 2nd round pick, on average. Not a #13 guy.

    None of that accounts for the fact that the Caps publicly stated many times they WEREN’T targeting certain players and weren’t drafting for need, they would pick the best available player at each spot. They didn’t do that. They very obviously targeted Vrana and they traded up to target a 3rd-4th round goalie in the 2nd round.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Oh come off it. You know what I meant. The talent level gap was basically non-existent throughout the rest of the first round graded players. This is a kid one of our scouts knows personally from the Czech Republic. Vrana was not a 2nd round graded player lol. Where are you getting that bullshit? If you actually watched the interviews after the draft, you’d realize we tried to trade up for Fleury but failed so no we did not target him. That doesn’t matter because he’s fine at 13 anyway.