Photo: Jeff Zelevansky

On Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Capitals announced the signing of 2014 first-round pick Jakub Vrana to a three-year, entry-level contract. The (adorbs) 18-year-old impressed in Development Camp, showing off exceptional speed, hands, and vision. He authored a nifty shootout goal that got national attention.

The signing does not mean much. Vrana is likely to be loaned back to Linkoping of the SHL for 2014-15 season unless something unexpected happens. The Czech winger was not selected during the CHL Import Draft held earlier in the month, so coming to North America for junior hockey seems unlikely– though he is eligible to play with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. In an interview with RMNB, Vrana seemed unsure if he’d attend Caps training camp during the fall. He is signed to a multi-year deal with Linkoping and the SHL season begins in early September.

Were he to play in the NHL, Vrana would make $832,500 per year. With Hershey Vrana would earn $70,000.

As we learned with fellow prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov however, just getting pen to paper can be an accomplishment worth pursuing. So someone give me a high-five and let’s party.

From the Caps:

The Washington Capitals have signed forward Jakub Vrana to a three-year, entry-level contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

Vrana, 18, was drafted by Washington in the first round, 13th overall, in the 2014 NHL Draft. The Prague, Czech Republic, native spent the 2013-14 season with Linkoping of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and split the season between the senior team and junior team. Vrana registered three points (two goals, one assists) and two penalty minutes in 24 games with the senior team and collected 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) and 26 penalty minutes in 24 games with Linkoping’s junior club. Vrana was ranked fourth overall among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting.

Vrana has represented the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship twice (2013, 2014) and at the Under-18 World Championships three times (2012, 2013, 2014). He led the Czech Republic in scoring at the 2012 and 2014 Under-18 World Championships and ranked first in goals (8) and third in points (10) among all skaters at 2014 tournament, including the overtime winner in the quarterfinal as the Czech Republic captured a silver medal. At the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, Vrana earned four points (three goals, one assist), including a goal and an assist in the bronze-medal game to lead the Czech Republic to victory. It was the country’s first top-three finish at the tournament, which they co-host, since 2005.

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  • Luke Anthony

    Based on how dominant he was at development camp, would not be surprised to see him make the team in 15/16 as a 19-year-old.

  • We’ll certainly see. Offensively he looks very advanced already at 18, but he still needs to put on a lot of muscle and continue to improve defensively/playing without the puck. I think he might take a good two years to challenge for a spot in DC, but you never know.

  • OvechkinFiresAndScores08

    Hi guys. I am a long time reader of the blog but I just made an account.

  • Alex

    Good move!

  • OvechkinFiresAndScores08

    About Vrana, slightly dissapointed that he will play in Europe and not North America. Burakovsky came to NA and has experienced lots of success. Would also be better for him to get used to the smaller ice.

  • OvechkinFiresAndScores08

    Sounds similar to what people said about Burakovsky…

  • OvechkinFiresAndScores08

    haha. Thanks. Wanted to get in on the discussion on the best blog on the web!

  • Chris Cerullo

    Burakovsky is going to challenge for a spot this year IMO purely based on the fact that the organization is going to try and experiment with him at center. I don’t see Vrana ever switching to the middle and with the logjam of wings on this team, Ian is probably right about a good two years.

  • OvechkinFiresAndScores08

    I see your point on Vrana. I don’t want to see Burakovsky in the NHL at center this year. He’s barely played there at competitive levels and he still is on the small side. I think we should send him to Hershey, let him develop at center there. Maybe at Christmas, or any time before/after that, if he’s doing really well, we give him a shot at the big club. But if we rush him I think it could hamper is development. But I am also not an expert so…

  • Luke Anthony

    I agree his defensive abilities need work and needs to bigger. However, everybody said the same thing about Burakovsky and he has probably at least 50/50 shot of making the team, even higher if you factor in chance of being a permanent call up.

  • Luke Anthony

    I don’t know about him as center either. I think I rather see them try to develop Kuznetsov as a center than Burakovsky. Bura is a goal scorer, Kuzya is a playmaker. Makes more sense that way.

  • OvechkinFiresAndScores08

    Imagine a line of Burakovsky-Kuznetsov-Vrana.

  • bskillet

    Don’t know but looking forward to watching kuznetsov this year. We shouldn’t have a problem scoring goals this year as long as this new D works out?

  • Bilal

    Or Wilson

  • Fedor

    The difference between the two is that Vrana gets to play in one of the best leagues in the world. Burakovsky’s Malmo was an Allsvenskan (second-tier) club. Of course, the fact remains that Burakovsky had offers from SHL for sure, but chose juniors over them.

  • Searle

    Burakovsky-Kuz-WIlson could be huge,

    Sniper-Playmaker-Power Forward

    If this was NHL 05 the chemistry would be through the roof

  • Chris Cerullo

    I’m definitely not convinced Trotz will have him in the opening night lineup. He’s going to have to have a very impressive camp to not start the year in Hershey. I also at first glance don’t like the center switch but I’d need to see more to be certain about it. I definitely agree about letting him test center at Hershey and giving him a mid-season call up if it goes well.

  • JenniferH

    Yay!!! He was such a star in development camp. Go Jacub! (And people were all complaining when BMac signed him.)

  • Eileen

    Aww, he can come play in Hershey! We’ll give him chocolate and let him ride the carousel and it’ll be awesome.

  • Pat Magee

    Erie should’ve drafted the kid. I can’t believe nobody in the CHL took him!

  • Pat Magee

    To get to play on a line with McDavid, we can see why he made that choice!

  • Fedor

    Didn’t play a whole lot with him in even strength.

  • Graham Dumas

    I also would like to see Vrana get more time from an early age on the small ice. That type of training seems very important for developing a fine-tuned NHL game, and I think it’s something that’s best done as early as possible. Then again, Kuzya looked pretty solid right out of the gate after, what, two years in the KHL?