The Washington Capitals have their 2014 first-round pick officially locked up.
The team announced they’ve signed 13th overall selection Jakub Vrana to his three-year entry-level contract. Vrana played at Linkoping in the Swedish Hockey League last season and that’s where he’ll likely be playing again next season unless his performance in training camp dictates otherwise.
Vrana, a Czech Republic native, has been a star for their national team at the World Junior Championships and Under-18 World Championships. As Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com shared, the Caps think highly of his abilities.
“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.”
If Vrana impresses enough in camp, that’d put the Caps in curious position to possibly go with a lot of youth as they’ll have 2013 first-round pick Andre Burakovsky also pushing to make the club.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
It’s the day that virtually signals the start of a new season while putting an end to the previous one. Today, fans, your team molds its future by signing (or avoiding signing) players to new potentially gigantic new deals beginning at noon ET.
Buckle up, it should be wild. As for what’s happening…
Looks like Columbus’ Derek MacKenzie, Jack Skille, and Blake Comeau are headed for UFA status at noon. (Columbus Dispatch)
Looks like Detroit’s shopping list on defense consists of Dan Boyle and Matt Niskanen. Christian Ehrhoff no longer in the hunt. (Mlive.com)
The St. Louis Blues are going to go hardest after Paul Stastny. (Post-Dispatch)
Caps first-round pick Jakub Vrana met Barry Trotz for the first time in… the men’s room? (CSNWashington.com)
It’s not only free agency day, but it’s also Canada Day and that hasn’t always been a great thing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Toronto Sun)
It’s pretty wild the Vancouver Canucks are seemingly hottest after goalie Ryan Miller this summer, isn’t it? (Toronto Sun)
Yeah, Willie Mitchell will be with a different team next season. (L.A. Times)
Sabres GM Tim Murray knows the rebuild is on his shoulders even though it started before he got there. Good thing he landed Sam Reinhart in the draft. (NHL.com)