YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF JAKUB VRANA IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.
As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.
They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.
It's time to take a look at which top prospects have the tools to become full-time NHL players and what they have to do to get the call-up from Hershey.
First up is Jakub Vrana, arguably the most intriguining and complex prospect in the Capitals' organization.
2017-18 CAPITALS PROSPECT PREVIEW: JAKUB VRANA
Position: Left Wing
Weight: 195 pounds
Contract: One-Way. Three-year, $4.28 million (2014)
PROSPECT PODCAST: Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann
AHL Seasons: 3 (88)
2016-17 AHL Stats: 49 games, 19 goals, 17 assists
NHL Seasons: 1 (21)
2016-17 NHL Stats: 3 goals, 3 assists
Tarik El-Bashir's Prospect Preview:
After a getting a few stints in Washington last season, Jakub Vrana’s challenge will be significantly tougher in 2017-18: he’s got to turn his vast potential into tangible production.
And the 21-year-old may have no better opportunity than the one he’ll be afforded this winter. With Marcus Johansson in New Jersey and Justin Williams in Carolina, Washington needs a couple of wingers to step into important roles. As things stand now, Andre Burakovsky will get one of those spots, while Vrana’s name figures to be penciled into the other.
There’s no questioning Vrana’s skill; he’s got wheels, good hands and a quick release. But now comes the hard part: putting it all together while showing the consistency he could not find last season with the Bears or the Caps.
Indeed, last year was an odd one for the 2014 first rounder. In each of his NHL stays, Vrana started strong and then faded. What troubled management, though, was the Czech’s response to being demoted.
In short, it wasn’t great.
The result was a disjointed season in Hershey, where Vrana was scratched a few times and his overall performance was, well, a little underwhelming.
I’m not ready to call this a make-or-break year for Vrana, but if he doesn’t develop into a full-time NHLer, I’d consider it a big disappointment.
Jill Sorenson's Prospect Analysis:
What He Has: "This is a guy who the organization looks at for his natural abillity. Obviously he has that flash, that offensive flare the team really wants. He has the speed they really want."
What He Needs to Do: "He needs to take advantage of the opportunities that are laid in front of him. I think a lot of people think this top-six spot is his to lose. So take advantage of that and make it stick."