Name: Jakub Vrana
Weight: 180 lbs.
2013-14 Team: Linköping
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Though Jakub Vrana was once considered a potential top 10 pick in the draft, he has see his stock fall slightly after an inconsistent 2013-14 season. His talent level is unquestioned- but his defensive play and lack of muscle could hold him back at the pro level.
Vrana is an explosive player in the offensive zone. Coupled with excellent agility and acceleration, Vrana uses elite stickhandling and creativity to operate as a playmaker on offense. He is adept at all three forward positions, though he spends most time at centre. His versatility and playmaking mean he can sometimes looks like a rover on the ice, drifting around to whichever area he sees fit to orchestrate offense from.
In spite of his dynamic offensive ability, Vrana still has some growing to do. At 6’0” and 180 lbs. he isn’t tiny, but lacks the strength required to be effective in the corners and along the boards. His commitment to defense also needs to improve, he often seems too focused on waiting for a breakout opportunity and forgets his mark or gets caught out of position.
Vrana is expected to be chosen from 20-30 in the draft. Though they pick at #15, I think that the Detroit Red Wings would be a good fit for Vrana, their patience with youth would afford him plenty of time to mature physically and develop his two-way game before making the jump to the NHL.
Quotes and rankings:
NHL Central Scouting (European skaters): #4
Craig Button: #23
ISS Hockey: #21
“Once ranked fairly high, Vrana has experienced some bouts of inconsistency in his game and has yet to really develop the defensive awareness that scouts were hoping for. That aside, Vrana is an imaginative passer with above-average puck skills and his knack for cashing in on loose pucks in the scoring area doesn’t go unnoticed. His arsenal features a quick accurate release that can fool opposing goaltenders and his ability to find the scoring areas…” –Brendan Ross, DobberProspects
“He plays with determination and drive, has an excellent work ethic and is a very fast skater with excellent all-round skills. He is able to control the game and create a lot of scoring possibilities with his quick moves.” –Goran Stubb, NHL Central Scouting