Capitals lock up Vrana with entry-level deal

Capitals lock up Vrana with entry-level deal
July 15, 2014, 4:00 pm
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Hours after signing goaltender Vitek Vanecek to his first pro contract, the Capitals announced they’ve come to an agreement on a three-year, entry-level contract with right wing Jakub Vrana, their first-round selection in the 2014 NHL draft.

Vrana, 18, was taken 13th overall in the June 27 draft and was impressive during the Caps’ weeklong development camp last week while playing on a top line with center Andre Burakovsky and left wing Jan Urbas.

“He obviously has shown really good speed,” Caps assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said last week. “In a shootout he showed his hands and his slap shot is one that not a lot of people are going to be able to stop.”

Mahoney said he was also impressed with Vrana’s defensive awareness and willingness to backcheck during the Caps’ three days of scrimmaging.

A native of Prague, Czech Republic, Vrana is expected to play for Linkoping of the Swedish Hockey League next season. He recently signed a two-year deal to play there and split last season between the senior team and junior team.

Vrana, who compares himself to Los Angeles Kings speedster Marian Gaborik, recorded two goals and one assist with two penalty minutes in 24 games with Linkoping’ senior team, and 14 goals, 11 assists and 26 penalty minutes in 24 games with the junior club.

Prior to the draft he was ranked fourth overall among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting.

Vrana has represented the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship twice [2013, 2014] and at the Under-18 World Championships three times [2012, 2013, 2014].

He led the Czech Republic in scoring at the 2012 and 2014 Under-18 World Championships and ranked first in goals [8] and third in points [10] among all skaters at the 2014 tournament. Vrana scored the overtime winner in the quarterfinal as the Czech Republic captured a silver medal.

At the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, Vrana collected three goals and one assist, including a goal and an assist in the bronze-medal game.

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