Washington Capitals’ 2014 Draft first-round pick Jakub Vrana kicked off his season this week with two Champions Hockey League games. After getting kept off the scoresheet as his Linkoping defeated Pardubice 2-1, Vrana, who played on a line with ex-Hershey Bears Jeff Taffe and Jacob Micflikier, scored two points in a blowout victory over Italian team Bolzano, 5-0.
Last Tuesday, Canada played the Czech Republic in National Junior Team Development Camp in Montreal. Because the Washington Capitals had two top picks from the 2014 draft, forward Jakub Vrana and goaltender Vitek Vanecek, playing, I recorded the game to take a closer look.
Vanecek allowed six goals on 37 shots in Canada’s 6-2 victory. With so much rubber going his way, the 18-year-old Czech had more than enough chances to display his strengths and weaknesses.
On Thursday, Vrana, playing with the Czech Republic as part of the National Junior Team Summer Development Camp, tried again to get super creative against Canada. After taking a pass behind the net, Vrana attempted to scoop the puck up with his stick blade and score like a lacrosse player.
The Capitals have traded up again to get a pick in the third round back, moving the 104th and 118th overall picks for 89th overall selection. They then selected Australian forward Nathan Walker from the Hershey Bears of the AHL.
In the secound round of the NHL Draft, the Capitals traded up, dealing the 44th and 74th overall picks to Buffalo in exchange for the 39th overall selection, Czech goaltender Vitek Vanecek from Bily Tygri Liberec of the Czech Elite League.
This is a surprise pick as Vanecek was not ranked highly by most, excluding NHL Central Scouting, who had him ranked eighth among European goaltenders.
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.
While the Washington Capitals’ past season was an unmitigated disaster, there was one bright spot located about 364 miles northwest of the district in Erie, Pennsylvania. Unheralded 2013 first round draft pick Andre Burakovsky had a breakout year with the OHL’s Erie Otters. His rapid development in Erie could launch him into the NHL next season.
But things could have gone very differently. Last July, after being selected fifth overall by the Otters in the CHL Draft, Burakovsky revealed disappointment with the decision, telling a local reporter, “this is not what I had in mind.” The young Swede, who spent the season before playing for the Malmo Redhawks of the HockeyAllsvenskan, did not want to join the OHL team.
It wasn’t until some convincing from then-GM George McPhee that Burakovsky signed on to play for the Otters, who were led by future 2015 first overall draft pick Connor McDavid.
The Indiana Ice, featuring Washington Capitals draft pick Brian Pinho, have won the Clark Cup. In game five of a best-of-five series, the Ice rallied to beat Waterloo Black Hawks 3-2 to win the USHL championship. Pinho scored the game-winning goal with just over two minutes to go in the third period.