Capitals select Vrana with the 13th overall pick: news and thoughts
The Washington Capitals selected Jakub Vrana with the 13th overall draft pick in the 2014 NHL draft. Vrana is a small center from the Czech Republic and is known as a natural scorer.
Right off the bat, I am a little worried about this draft pick. I do not expect Vrana to sign right away and I think he will put on some weight, right now he is only 172 pounds. The Capitals have had a history of drafting European players high and while they have put up the stats the Capitals have never made a real deep playoff run.
The Capitals have lacked toughness the past few seasons and investing in another European skill player will not help with that. European players tend to be softer, they play in bigger ice rinks and considerate more on skills and fighting is banned. Marcus Johannson is a good example, very talented player and has a great skill set. Johannson has the potential to be a truly great player but he does not have the toughness that a Brooks Laich type player has. While Johannson has the overall better skill set Laich has had a much better career and has been way more important to the Capitals. Laich grinds out plays and on rare occasions will fight when his team needs him to.
Teams filled with smaller European players do not win the Stanley Cup. The Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and LA Kings where all built with bigger tougher players, mostly from Canada or America.
Anyway, that’s just my thoughts on the European players, they have a lot of talent but most of them lack grit and heart. Alex Ovechkin is one of the rare exceptions of a skilled European player that enjoys hitting, but remember Ovie is huge.
Here is the Capitals press release and a video.
Capitals Select Jakub Vrana in the First Round of the 2014 NHL Draft
Posted on June 28, 2014 by Caps PR
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals selected forward Jakub Vrana with the 13th overall selection in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft on Friday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Vrana, 18, was ranked fourth overall among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The Prague, Czech Republic, native spent the 2013-14 season with Linkoping of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and split the season between the senior team and junior team. Vrana registered three points (two goals, one assists) and two penalty minutes in 24 games with the senior team and collected 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) and 26 penalty minutes in 24 games with Linkoping’s junior club.
Vrana has represented the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship twice (2013, 2014) and at the Under-18 World Championships three times (2012, 2013, 2014). He led the Czech Republic in scoring at the 2012 and 2014 Under-18 World Championships and ranked first in goals (8) and third in points (10) among all skaters at 2014 tournament, including the overtime winner in the quarterfinal as the Czech Republic captured a silver medal. At the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, Vrana earned four points (three goals, one assist), including a goal and assist in the bronze-medal game to lead the Czech Republic to victory. It was the country’s first top-three finish at the tournament, which they co-host, since 2005.