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.
Vrana has played against men for parts of two seasons already. A Czech who went to Sweden at the age of 15, his development has been steady while he’s statistically remained around the point-per-game level for Linkoping’s U20 team. Already a veteran of three U18 World Championships (recent silver medalist) and two WJCs, Vrana has grown into a leader and go-to player. He possesses good offensive instincts and a nose for the net. Vrana has a knack for timely goals and is unafraid to shoot from anywhere. He loves to come in off the right wing side and find the far inner goalpost. His release and accuracy are tricky for goaltenders. Strong laterally in movement and very good with the puck, Vrana has above-average creativity with it. He plays an unselfish game yet is more of a goal scorer than a playmaker. Vrana can have periods of time where he seems unconcentrated or simply not in the game and has been known to show frustration when certain things aren’t working or aren’t going his way. In terms of athleticism, he doesn’t yet have the size or frame to withstand the physical pressures at the pro level and his first few steps don’t generate much speed. He will need to improve his defensive zone game.
Vrana signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Capitals in July 2014 before being loaned to Linkopings and returning to Sweden for his second SHL season in 2014-15. He is skating in a full-time role with the squad this year and has provided consistent secondary scoring. Vrana also skated in his second World Juniors tournament with the Czech U20 team. Long-term his offensive game and instincts seem well-suited or him to be a consistent scorer at the NHL level. To reach that point he must continue to develop physically and increase his consistency in all three zones.