2010-11: Jakub Vrana played for the HC Letnany U18 and U16 teams in his native Czech Republic as a 14-year old; splitting the season between the two squads. He was tied for the U18 team lead in goals (19) despite playing in just 26 of 48 games and was +5 with 10 assists and 10 penalty minutes. He scored 28 goals with 15 assists in 18 games with the U16 team and was +20 with 30 penalty minutes.
2011-12: Vrana moved from Czech junior hockey to Linkoping in Sweden and skated for the Czech Republic’s U18 and U17 national teams. He appeared in three games with Linkoping’s U20 team in the SuperElit league and was +2 with 1 goal and 2 penalty minutes. Vrana scored 28 goals with 17 assists in 32 regular season games for Linkoping’s U18 team and had 2 goals with 2 assists and was +4 with 12 penalty minutes in three playoff games. Vrana capped the season playing in the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship; scoring 4 goals with 4 assists and finishing +1 with 4 penalty minutes in six games. The host team, the Czech Republic finished eighth. In five games at the 2013 U17 World Hockey Challenge he scored 2 goals with 4 penalty minutes.
2012-13: Vrana made his pro hockey debut — appearing in five games with Linkoping in Sweden’s Elitserien — and was the top goal scorer for the club’s U20 team. He represented the Czech Republic in the 2013 U20 and U18 World Junior Championship tournaments. Vrana had no points nor penalty minutes and was -2; averaging 9:32 minutes of ice time in Elitserien play. He led Linkoping’s U20 team with 20 goals in 32 regular season games and was +3 with 12 assists and 49 penalty minutes. He scored 1 goal and was -2 in five playoff games. Vrana played six games for the Czech U20 team in Ufa; finishing +1 with 1 assist and 2 penalty minutes.
2013-14: Vrana returned to Sweden for his third season with Linkopings — splitting time between the club’s SHL and junior teams — and was selected to compete for the Czech Republic in the 2014 U20 and U18 World Junior Championship tournaments. He scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was -3 with 2 penalty minutes, averaging 8:32 minutes of ice time, in 24 regular season SHL games. Linkopings finished ninth in the regular season — sweeping MODO in a play-in series and advancing to the second round of the playoffs. Vrana skated in all 14 post season games and was -3 with 1 goal, 1 assist, and 6 penalty minutes. He scored 14 goals with 11 assists and was +6 with 26 penalty minutes in 24 games for the Linkopings U20 team. In five games for the Czech U20 team he scored 1 goal with 1 assist and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes. He scored 8 goals with 2 assists and was +3 in seven games as the Czech U18 team captured a silver medal, falling 5-2, to the USA in the gold medal game. Vrana was ranked fourth amongst international skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Washington in the first round (13th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Though a bit undersized at 5’11 and 185 pounds, Vrana is a high-skill winger with even higher upside. He is a good skater, though more smooth than explosive. He possesses a good release and a nose for the net from just about anywhere on the ice, displaying a goal scorer’s touch. Consistency is still an issue with Vrana. When he is frustrated or things are not going well, he tends to disappear for stretches. Like most young offensively-minded forwards, he still needs to work on his defensive game. Shows good creativity and plays an unselfish game despite being more of a scorer than a playmaker. High-end talent.
Vrana made his North American debut in 2014-15 by playing the final three games of the regular season and 10 playoff games with Hershey. He looked strong offensively, registering five assists in the regular season and six points in the playoff run. For 2015-16, expect Vrana to start the year in Hershey and spend most of the season there. Going forward, he projects as a potential top-line winger and could be one of the bright young stars that helps take the burden off of Alex Ovechkin as he gets further into his career.