Jakub Vrana got a brief stint with the Washington Capitals this season. Hopefully it gives him a taste of what it’s like.
The Washington Capitals are going to lose several players this offseason. Most likely, they will turn to the Hershey Bears for internal replacements. Perhaps the most likely prospect to see playing time next season is 2014 first round pick Jakub Vrana.
He got 21 games of experience in his first NHL season. Though Vrana only had six points, he showed the offensive upside that made him a first round pick. Moving forward, hopefully his experience from the 2016-17 season helps him become a better player.
All stats, unless otherwise noted, are at even strength. Corsi and goals for numbers are adjusted. Stats courtesy of Hockey Analysis. These stats are in the NHL, but Vrana’s AHL stats will be noted as well.
|TOI per game
|5v5 primary assists/60
|Rel. Goals Against60
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In a very limited sample size, Vrana showed he can be a very effective power play weapon. As a part of the second power play unit, all of his three goals came on the man advantage. Why is Vrana so good? Because he controls the Ovi spot in Hershey. Obviously, that experience has been a success for Vrana.
Though he didn’t repeat his point per game performance from last season in the AHL, 36 points in 49 games is fairly impressive. Especially when you consider Vrana was up and down from the NHL for a decent portion of the year. Though he was quite sheltered, it’s still impressive he was able to control possession at a respectable rate.
Vrana didn’t produce at even strength. However, that’s understandable, considering he was generally deployed as a third line wing. And, for what it’s worth, the third line still dominated possession impressively, even if they didn’t score. Vrana’s longest stay in the NHL, unfortunately, came in December, right before the third forward line started dominating. So on paper, the results weren’t there. But it’s promising that the process was very good.
He had a rough postseason for the Bears. But even then, Vrana is extremely important moving forward. Alex Ovechkin might be declining and getting Jakub scoring will help mitigate the lost goals from The Great Eight. While Vrana’s overall game must improve, there’s not much else he can do in the AHL. He’s ready for the big leagues.
Is Vrana ready for a regular NHL job? What line should he be on next season?