There is perhaps no one on the Capitals roster with more on the line in training camp than Jakub Vrana.
Depending on how he performs, Vrana could climb into the team’s top-six or he could fail to make the roster at all and potentially be sent back down to Hershey in the AHL.
For a 21-year-old, it normally would not be an issue if he had to go back to the minors to further develop. As a first-round pick with questions about his focus in the AHL, as well as a clear hole in the top-six, there is a lot of pressure on Vrana's shoulders to prove he’s ready for the big leagues and he knows it.
“If you would think about [the pressure], you would probably kill yourself so I just try to don't think about it,” Vrana said to CSN after Wednesday’s morning skate.
Vrana will make his preseason debut Wednesday in Montreal. In what could be a preview of the regular season lineup, Vrana will skate on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Barry Trotz stressed that it was important for the player not to read into anything in terms of who he plays with and where, but it is clear there will be a lot on the line for Vrana in Montreal.
“If he plays really well, it doesn't matter who he plays with, he'll make the hockey team,” Trotz said. “If he doesn't play well, then he won't have a chance to make the hockey team.”
MORE CAPITALS: HOW TO WATCH WEDNESDAY'S PRESEASON GAME