The Washington Capitals rookies took on the Florida Panthers today at the IceDen in Coral Springs, Florida.
Just before the end of the second period, Capitals top prospect Jakub Vrana dropped his mitts for the first time in his career. He did not choose his first opponent wisely. Vrana fought Panthers prospect Jayce Hawryluk, a 2014 second round pick who calls Brad Marchand his favorite player. According to Hockey Fights, Hawryluk has punched faces four previous times.
The Caps’ first game of the South Florida Rookie Tournament is in the books. The Capitals rookies lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-6. To say the goalies (two for each side) played poorly would be an understatement.
Let’s take a look at the highlights via the Capitals’ and Lightning’ Twitter accounts.
For the purpose of this series, a prospect will be defined as an under-25 player in the Capitals system who was not on the team’s roster for the majority of last season. This allows us to focus on guys who many know little about. You will not see players like Stan Galiev, Philipp Grubauer, or Andre Burakovsky on this list.
Photo: Amanda Bowen
During his first development camp in Washington last year, 2014 first-round pick Jakub Vrana wowed everyone with his skill via a fancy shootout goal. This year, the Capitals wisely affixed a GoPro to the top of his bucket. The returns were predictably tremendous.
Here are my ten favorite GIFs from Vrana’s helmet cam video.
Photo: Kyle Mace / Chocolate Hockey
The Hershey Bears had a big night on Friday. They won 10-4, completing the best-of-five series against the Worchester Sharks in round one in four games.
Casey Wellman led the way with three goals and an assist, Chris Brown scored twice, Nate Schmidt, Cameron Schilling, Tim Kennedy, and Jakub Vrana all had three points in the game. Vrana also scored his first AHL goal.
The other goal-scorers included Dustin Gazley and Liam O’Brien.
Vrana battles Andrew Gordon. (Photo: Jeremy Long/Lebanon Daily News)
Washington Capitals 2014 first-round pick Jakub Vrana has had a strong start to his North American career. After scoring 12 goals and 12 assists in 44 SHL games, Vrana arrived in Hershey on April 9. Since then he’s dominated the AHL, registering five assists in three games, including a three-point performance on Saturday that landed him first star of the game honors. Coach Troy Mann has Vrana playing left wing on the second line along with veterans Jim O’Brien and Casey Wellman. As you can tell, it’s going splendidly.
Since we know you guys are more of a visual crowd, here’s GIFs of all of Vrana’s delicious apples. He wears #39.
Photo: Josefine Loftenius / Bildbyran
Washington Capitals’ first-round pick Jakub Vrana scored two goals, including the eventual game-winner, as his Linkoping defeated HV71 in their first game of the SHL playoffs, 3-2. Vrana, who had problems finding the net late in the regular season with just three points in eleven games since the beginning of February, had his first career multi-point postseason game as a pro.
Jakub Vrana, Riley Barber, Madison Bowey
Three Capitals prospects have made the semi-annual list of the 50 best affiliated NHL prospects compiled by ESPN’s Corey Pronman. The list includes only players not currently on NHL rosters. This time, the ranking is topped by the Leafs’ forward William Nylander.
Following a mediocre World Junior Championship, Jakub Vrana, 13th overall pick of 2013 Draft, finishes seventh in Pronman’s rankings.
Photo: Peter Holgersson / Bildbyran
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.
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