Key Stat: Vrana’s 13 goals was tied for 17th in the League against NHL rookies this season, with 12 of those coming at even strength. Bear in mind that Vrana accomplished this while being fed scarce minutes by a coach with an aversion to lengthening the leash on his younger players. To wit, Vrana was 5th on the team in G/60, and was 3rd on the team in individual shot attempts/60. These are hallmarks of a guy who’s got the potential to make the most of any additional ice time funneled his way, and the Caps benefited from that in several big moments during their Cup run. According to HockeyViz, Vrana’s 1.3 5v5 primary pts/60 has him already comfortably producing at a 2nd liner’s rate.
Interesting Stat: Vrana also technically qualified as a rookie during the 2016-2017 campaign, during which he scored an additional 3 goals. This clocks Vrana in at 16 goals in 94 games as a rookie, which ties him with Mike Marson (‘74-’75) for 14th most goals for a rookie in franchise history, and was the best goal-scoring showing by a rookie since a guy named Alex Ovechkin put up 52, all the way back in 2005-2006.
The Good: A lot of what was described in the previous paragraphs would be good candidates for The Good. Vrana worked hard, took his lumps, helped round out a lineup that took several personnel blows last summer, functionally received a promotion when the stakes were at their highest, and through it emerged not only as a Stanley Cup Champion, but also as arguably the best young player in the Capitals’ organization.
According to Natural Stat Trick, Vrana created the 2nd most rush attempts/60, the 3rd most rebounds/60, and drew the 3rd most penalties/60, while also being a position possession player on a mediocre possession team. Throw in the playoff revelation that the kid’s got a nose for a big moment (see: closing the scoring in Game 5 vs PIT; opening the scoring in Game 5 vs VGK)
The Bad: The narrative around Vrana was that he was a defensive liability, which was often parroted as a justification for his not receiving the ice time that his evident skillset would conventionally command. Although this didn’t necessarily show up in the data we like to use to understand the game, it’s clear there’s room for improvement in the defensive zone, if to no other end than to secure the trust of his bench boss — a tangible reality for a young player in the NHL, even one with Vrana’s potential.
Vrana’s Season, Game-by-Game (via HockeyViz, explained here):
Vrana and His Linemates (chart by @muneebalamcu):
Vrana’s 5v5 Teammates and Competition (via HockeyViz, explained here):
Vrana’s 5v5 Usage (chart by @muneebalamcu):
Vrana’s With-or-Without You (via HockeyViz, explained here):
Vrana’s Rolling Shot-Attempt (Corsi) -For Percentage (chart by @muneebalamcu):
Vrana’s Player Traits and Performance (chart by @RK_Stimp, data by @ShutdownLine, Tableau here):
The Vote: Rate Vrana below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
The Discussion: What’s your expectation for Vrana’s growth moving forward? Is that a TOI number? A production number? Is this guy really going to go another season without seeing meaningful minutes on the powerplay? What would it take for you to give him a “10” next year?
Other Vrana Season Reviews: Peerless, RMNB
How do you rate Jakub Vrana’s 2017-18 season?
This poll is closed