Capitals’ first-round pick Jakub Vrana scored two goals and one assist in five games at the World Junior Championship before his Czech Republic fell to Slovakia 0-3, failing to make the semifinals for the tenth straight tournament.
Editor’s Note — Throughout the season, Fedor will be posting scouting reports for Capitals prospects around the globe, bringing his thoughts on their performance as well as video evidence. First up is Jakub Vrana.
Washington Capitals 2014 first round pick Jakub Vrana plays for Linkoping of the SHL (Swedish Hockey League) and will play on the Czech Republic’s World Junior Championship team. He left a conflicting impression in the eight games I watched of him in October and early November. His skill was evident as he sometimes made veteran defensemen look foolish. However, he would go invisible for long stretches. On some occasions, it appeared that he let frustration get the best of him after missed opportunities on the offensive end and looked like a shadow of himself for the rest of the game. His first period was often his best as he sometimes looked tired in the second half of games and Linkoping’s coach Roger Melin would sometimes bench him in the third period. He clearly needs to be more aware defensively as sometimes he’s caught watching the play looking for a chance to get on the rush quickly instead of tracking his man in order to make sure there’s no scoring chance developing behind his back.
Still, his combination of speed and skill was too much for defensemen in this league. He also was always on the lookout to steal an errant pass or pickpocket a puck handler for a backbreaking goal. He’s not an overly physical player due to his smaller stature, but he also doesn’t put himself in bad position and get caught on big hits as well. If he can develop some consistency, he’ll be really hard to defend and potentially a game-changing player in the future.
Below the jump, I analyze every part of Vrana’s game with video evidence.
Madison Bowey and Team Canada will try to bring Wolrd Junior supremacy to Canada on home soil. (Photo: Hockey Canada)
On Friday, the 2015 World Juniors will be underway in Montreal and Toronto. Two groups of five teams will be battling for ten days to determine the strongest junior team on the planet. It’s arguably the most meaningful and most exciting annual international hockey tournament.
The Washington Capitals will not be well represented at the tournament unlike in years past. After the club decided to not release Andre Burakovsky in a controversial move, only three Caps prospects will be playing at the tournament: Canadian defenseman Madison Bowey and two Czech nationals, forward Jakub Vrana and goalie Vitek Vanecek.
Capitals fifth-round pick Shane Gersich stays hot. After a tremendous start to the season with Omaha of the USHL that has him third in the league in goals, the Minnesota-native forward got the call to represent the US at the World Junior A Challenge. He’s done well there too.
The WHL’s Kelowna Rockets have made a huge trade, acquiring the Winnipeg Jets’ 13th overall pick from 2013 draft, defenseman Josh Morrissey, from the Prince Albert Raiders. It is likely that Morrissey, will play on Kelowna’s top defensive pairing with the Caps’ Madison Bowey.
Since turning pro, the career of Capitals 2010 third-round draft pick Stan Galiev hasn’t gone as expected. The dynamic winger struggled with system play and never found a role with the AHL’s Hershey Bears under coaches Mark French and Mike Haviland. He spent the majority of the last two seasons with Reading in the ECHL. Last year, injuries and scratches limited him to just 30 games between the AHL and ECHL.
After scoring four goals in his first 44 career AHL games, Galiev has scored three in his last three, including a game-winner against St. John’s on Sunday. Those were the only goals Hershey scored those games.
This is pure joy. (Photo: Johan Bernstrom / Bildbyran)
Jakub Vrana, Capitals’ first-round pick at the last draft, scored a hat trick in his team’s 6-5 shootout win against Farjestad on Friday.
That is a hat trick as the Swedish scorekeepers count it: after scoring two goals in regulation, Vrana also netted a game-winning shootout attempt, which is considered a goal in Sweden, unlike in North America, where we call that a DC Hat Trick. The KHL used to count shootout game-winners as goals early in its existence, too, but then decided against it.
Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored a goal and an assist as his Linkoping defeated Lulea 3-1 in an SHL game. Vrana, who scored the game-winning goal on Saturday, now has five goals and five assists. That was his fourth two-point game of his SHL season.
The 18-year-old forward also had two two-point nights in the Champions Hockey League. This year, he has had six two-point nights in 21 outings.
Videos of Vrana’s highlights from Saturday are under the jump.
Czech forward Jakub Vrana, who was selected by the Capitals in the first round of the 2014 draft, assisted on two goals as his Linkoping defeated Skelleftea AIK 3-1. Vrana missed the two previous matches (including a Champions League game against Sparta Prague) as he had not yet returned from Czech Republic, where he suited up for his national team at the junior Four Nations tournament.