Player: Jakub Vrana
Drafted By: Washington Capitals (13th overall)
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 4 European skater
Height/Weight: 6'0", 181 lbs
DOB: February 28, 1996 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: SweHL, Linkopings HC
This Czech native has demonstrated an ability to light it up at the junior level in Europe. Jakub Vrana has played extremely well in the World Junior Under-18 Championships, and he led the Czechs to a surprising second-place finish with eight goals this year in the prestigious tournament. Vrana has the ability to go up and down the ice with speed and his vicious wrist shot is his signature at this point in his development. No matter where he is drafted, Vrana is expected to continue to play with Linkopings in 2014-15.
Full Scouting Report
Vrana has the look of a big-time scorer when he reaches the NHL level. While he is at least a couple of years away from that, there is a determination to his game that should separate him from other players.
Once he gets the puck on his stick and can take a couple of strides, he is not going to be satisfied unless he gets off one of his impressive wrist shots or finds an open teammate for a legitimate scoring opportunity.
Vrana is a hardworking player who wants to get better, and he must use that determination to play more effectively on the defensive end. Today's NHL demands strong two-way play, and Vrana simply is not ready at this point in his development to play effectively on the defensive side of the ice.
Vrana's talent has impressed Goran Stubbs, Central Scouting's European Director. "He plays with determination and drive, has an excellent work ethic and is a very fast skater with excellent all-round skills," Stubbs said. "He is able to control the game and create a lot of scoring possibilities with his quick moves."
NHL Player Comparison
Phil Kessel may be Vrana's target player when he gets to the NHL. Kessel is a brilliant skater with a ripping wrist shot, and he is going to score at least 30 goals every season. Kessel has never been known for his defensive skills, and Vrana is going to have to do quite a bit of work if he is going to improve his defensive game.
Vrana is going to play with Linkopings in 2014-15, and don't be surprised if he also plays with the Swedish League team the following year as well. It appears that Vrana needs at least two more years of development before he has the all-around game to play consistently in the NHL.
Vrana is going to have to show he can take the physical grind of the NHL and also play a solid defensive game when he gets the opportunity. However, when Vrana does get to the show, he has the potential to be a big-time scorer. If he's going to match Kessel, that means some team is going to get a scorer who can light the lamp consistently and put at least 30 goals per season on the board. That means Vrana has a chance to be a top-6 forward who has the opportunity to play in the NHL All-Star game frequently.