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Canadiens 2014 Draft Targets: Jakub Vrana

Known for being a dynamic player at both ends of the ice and having the ability to play on both wings, should the Montreal Canadiens draft Jakub Vrana?

Graig Abel

The Canadiens have always been known as a team that wins using speed and skill over muscle and brawn, and a player like Jakub Vrana fits that ideal perfectly.

Vrana checks in at 6' tall and 176 lbs, meaning he isn't the largest, or heaviest winger out there, but that doesn't stop him from being highly effective at both ends of the ice.

As you can see from the video below, Vrana is a major two way threat whenever he's on the ice and uses his excellent speed to create scoring opportunities for himself and his linemates.

In addition to Vrana's speed and playmaking ability, he possesses a deceptively good shot release that allows him snap quick wrist shots past opposing goaltenders. Brendan Ross of Dobber Prospects also commends Vrana on his ability to find scoring areas and cash in on loose pucks around the goal.

As you can see, Vrana has had little trouble putting the puck into the net whether it be in junior leagues, or while suiting up for the Czech Republic for international play. While playing for Linköping in the J20 SuperElit(highest level of junior hockey in Sweden) Vrana has managed a point per game pace over the course of 56 games. In those 56 games Vrana totalled 34 goals and 23 assists and a plus 9 rating overall. His high level of play has seen Vrana spend parts of the last two seasons playing with Linköping in the SHL as well where he has struggled to make an impact on the scoresheet. This is not a large cause of concern as Vrana is literally a boy amongst men in one of the top European hockey leagues.

Of note is Vrana's recent outstanding play for the Czech Republic's U18 hockey team where in 16 games Vrana posted 14 goals and 6 assists. While not as dominant Vrana also represented the Czechs at the most recent World Junior Championships and recorded two points in five games including a wicked slapshot against Team Canada.


Hockey Prospect:

"It seems like we have been watching Vrana for a very long time because he played on the Czech national team as a double under-ager. He is now just weeks away from his NHL Draft day and he finished on a high note after a strong performance at the World U18 in Finland back in April. Vrana has fantastic speed that he uses effectively through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone. He has great hands and likes to show them off dangling around defenders."


Future Considerations: 25

Hockey Prospect: 30

McKeen's Hockey: 21

Craig Button: 23

International Scouting Services: 21

Average Ranking: 24


As started earlier, Vrana is the type of player who fits the Canadiens style of play as he is quick on the puck and can create scoring chances with his speed.

As an added bonus Vrana has played both left and right wing in his career as currently the Canadiens are very barren in terms of right wing prospects, with only Michael McCarron playing the OHL right now. One issue that could possibly arise is that Vrana is likely to be taken before the Canadiens pick at 26th overall based on several scouting reports meaning a trade up is likely necessary to draft the Czech winger.

Yet with the lack of scoring wingers currently in the Canadiens prospect pool, in my opinion it's worth the risk to trade up and draft the shifty winger.

While there are some concerns about Vrana's defensive prowess they can likely be smoothed out as Vrana matures and plays more in the SHL. With the lack of scoring depth in the prospect pool due to trading Sebastian Collberg, Tim Bozon's fight with meningitis and McCarron having a rough start to his OHL career snatching a player like Vrana in the draft would go a long way to reassuring the fan base.