Vrana battles Andrew Gordon. (Photo: Jeremy Long/Lebanon Daily News)
Washington Capitals 2014 first-round pick Jakub Vrana has had a strong start to his North American career. After scoring 12 goals and 12 assists in 44 SHL games, Vrana arrived in Hershey on April 9. Since then he’s dominated the AHL, registering five assists in three games, including a three-point performance on Saturday that landed him first star of the game honors. Coach Troy Mann has Vrana playing left wing on the second line along with veterans Jim O’Brien and Casey Wellman. As you can tell, it’s going splendidly.
Since we know you guys are more of a visual crowd, here’s GIFs of all of Vrana’s delicious apples. He wears #39.
After Hershey’s miniature ball of energy Dustin Gazley forced a turnover behind the Phantoms’ net, Vrana throws the puck to Jim O’Brien in the slot who buried the shot over Rob Zepp’s blocker. It was the only time the Bears got the puck past Zepp in the Phantoms’ 4-1 victory.
Here Vrana leaves the puck for Casey Wellman, whose shot finds its way between Scott Greenham’s blocker and body. The Bears defeated the Senators 3-2. Nate Schmidt had two points in the game, a goal and an assist.
This cross-ice pass. Wow.
Now Vrana’s getting super fancy. Watch as he sends a no-look backhand pass to Philippe Cornet, posterizing Oliver Lauridsen in the process.
Finally, Vrana collects a secondary assist on Travis Boyd’s first professional goal. Christian Djoos also records his first North American point with an assist.
Yeah. Vrana looks really talented at the AHL level, right? This is intriguing.
The best part is now Vrana is going to get some valuable playing time during the Bears’ playoff run. He appears to have carved himself out a spot in the team’s first round line-up. And unlike other prospects who recently arrived to Hershey (Kevin Elgestal, Djoos, Boyd, and Caps’ Development Camp invitee Sam Warning), he isn’t considered a “Black Ace.” He’s not here to practice. He’s here to play in games and be a big part of this Bears’ club in the postseason.
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