Player Profile: Jakub Vrana

Jakub Vrana's first goal with St. Louis Blues comes from behind the net. Photo credit: russianmachineneverbreaks.com

Did you know that Jakub Vrana started ice skating at a rink owned by the brother of former Washington Capitals scout Vojtech Kucera before moving out to play in the Swedish Hockey League? If not, don’t worry. My player profile can fill you in.

Vrana made his SHL debut with Linkoping HC in 2012-13. After his debut, he became the youngest foreign player in league history and the ninth-youngest overall. He arguably adapted well to the league and Swedish hockey in general.

Two years later, Vrana was drafted by the first NHL team he knew about. The Washington Capitals selected him with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He spent some time with the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, but he was better known for his career highs in goals, assists, and points; his third-place ranking in goals; and his recording at least 24 goals in a single season before age 24 in 2018-19. And, of course, he was known for his eight points in 23 games during the Capitals’ run and eventual win of their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2018.

As a result of his regular season and postseason success, Washington re-signed Vrana to a two-year, $6.7 million contract on July 16, 2019. Washington traded Vrana, Richard Panik, a 2021 first-round pick, and a 2022 second-round pick to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Anthony Mantha on April 12, 2021.

Vrana made an immediate impact as a Detroit Red Wing. He became the 26th player in Red Wings’ history to score four or more goals in a game and the second player in franchise history to record a hat trick within his first four games of joining the team. He signed a three-year, $16.25 million contract with the Red Wings on August 10, 2021. However, his shoulder injury caused him to be out for at least four months in 2021-22. He only played in 26 games, recording 13 goals and six assists, before being placed in the NHL’s Player Assistance Program in October 2022.

Fast forward to the present.

The Red Wings traded Vrana to the St. Louis Blues on March 3, 2023, in exchange for prospect Dylan McLaughlin and a seventh-round pick in the 2025 NHL Entry Draft.

The Red Wings appeared to be more than ready to let Vrana go, while the Blues appeared to feel like he was in his prime. Some Blues fans were excited about the Blues’ acquisition of Vrana, and some weren’t.

I believe in second chances. And, in my opinion, the Blues’ acquisition of Vrana has panned out so far. Like newcomers Sammy Blais and Kasperi Kapanen, Vrana has provided an offensive boost and might boost his trade value.

But right now, Vrana has been sensational in St. Louis, recording six goals and two assists in 11 games since March 7, 2023.

What are your thoughts about Vrana? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Stanley Cup Aspirations Cue’ the Duck Boats Pod

The boys are back after a long break but have plenty to talk about as the playoffs are in full swing. We go series by series, looking at how teams have fared so far and who will come out on top. Thanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Stanley Cup Aspirations
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Ana Kieu

Ana Kieu is a journalist by trade. Her love for sports shows in her writing, editing, and podcasting work. She writes about the NHL for Inside The Rink.

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