The buying and selling of Jakub Vrana was a jolt to the system for many Caps followers. Whether or not you immediately agreed or disagreed with the transaction, it was a seismic shift within the day-to-day lifetime of any Caps fan.
It was no totally different for me, personally. I had the pleasure of following and monitoring the bubbling younger Czech since his draft day again in 2014, following him by means of every recreation in Hershey, every worldwide recreation throughout his stints on the Czech Nationwide crew, and naturally, by means of every recreation with the Capitals. I loved following his journey each step alongside the best way.
As for his recreation, Vrana flashed moments of brilliance and was seemingly unstoppable on sure nights. Vrana posted constant numbers underneath Todd Reirden, roughly 25 objectives and 25 assists in every of the 2 seasons, and in a normalized season (82 video games as an alternative of 56), he was on monitor to presumably repeat the tempo this season.
However there have been points.
A part of me was positive that Vrana’s time in D.C. was working out following his extra time winner on March 9 towards the Devils and his subsequent stare-down of recent head coach Peter Laviolette. Vrana was benched earlier within the recreation, and the extra time winner and stare down gave the impression to be an enormous center finger to Laviolette.
He was staring and skating straight in direction of Laviolette, and may need made it to him if it wasn’t for fellow Czech Richard Panik’s highway block. Vrana pushed it too far. You possibly can’t publicly show-up and undermine the boss and never count on repercussions.
However days slipped by and like the remainder of Caps nation, I swept it apart as a minor participant revolt and moved on. In actuality, Jake would by no means the identical because the writing was drying on the wall. Little did we all know his extra time game-winner can be the following to final purpose scored by Vrana in a Capitals uniform.
Vrana’s points are nicely documented and function highway markers alongside his profession path. He was benched underneath Troy Mann in Hershey, benched throughout a current stint for the Czech Republic nationwide crew (he nonetheless doesn’t do interviews with Czech media), and naturally he was benched underneath Barry Trotz, Todd Reirden and Peter Laviolette throughout his time with the Capitals. The historical past is well-documented and ever-present with Vrana. For those who search “Vrana Scratch” on our web site, the returned record of articles is, sadly, fairly in depth.
What was the top results of these benchings? It’s onerous to say, however ultimately, Vrana is in now in Detroit. And that’s that.
Within the week because the deal, I’ve had a while to digest the occasions in a big-picture sense, which left me questioning a little bit extra in regards to the player-coach relationship and the general long-term worth of every particular person to a company. It begs the query – who holds extra weight over the long run, the participant or the coach?
In response to analysis by Peter Tanner performed for FiveThirtyEight a couple of years in the past, the typical NHL heading teaching job lasts for two.4 seasons, which was roughly the identical as the typical for the NBA (2.3), however a lot shorter than the standard teaching tenures within the NFL (3.6) and MLB (3.8).
2.4 seasons isn’t a very long time. Gamers outlast coaches on a regular basis. So when does a call by a coach outweigh the worth of the participant? Enter, Jakub Vrana.
Hypothetically, if Connor McMichael secures a spot on the roster subsequent fall and has points with Laviolette, would he be dealt? I might hope not. This tells us there’s certainly a dividing line someplace, at some location, that claims the participant holds extra worth than the coach, accurately. Solely Brian MacLellan is aware of the place the road truly resides and he will get to position the road and finally decide the violations as nicely.
Now don’t get me unsuitable, the Vrana commerce was vital, for a lot of causes, and ultimately, it needed to be achieved for monetary causes as nicely. Vrana can be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this offseason, and he’s now armed with good (costly) participant comparables (comps) for his almost-certain arbitration listening to arising this summer season. He’s gonna receives a commission, and he’s earned each penny he will get. The Capitals simply discovered the worth tag and behavioral baggage an excessive amount of of a bundle deal to devour.
For the Capitals, they acquired comparatively cheap offensive manufacturing out of Vrana throughout his tenure within the District. He had an $833,333 cap hit from 2016 to 2019, an enormous cut price and a significant motive why the Capitals had been in a position to pay their core gamers the little further they wished. However extra importantly, he was part of the rationale why the Capitals gained the Stanley Cup in 2018.
Jake is an efficient child, who simply has points with authority (similar right here). In the long run, when the postseason begins and a collection is on the road, I’d have him in my lineup 10 video games out of 10. The problem for any coach is the way to lead and encourage him within the less-meaningful elements of the season. No coach has really succeeded in that half, thus far.
So life after Jakub is upon us. The precise winners and losers of the commerce gained’t be determined for a couple of years to return. Vrana will doubtless be scoring objectives and racking up factors lengthy after Laviolette leaves the district, with or with out his championship ring, and the hockey world will transfer on, similar to we do proper now.
The one factor actually sure at this level is that it was a real pleasure masking the charismatic child from the Czech Republic. The most effective of luck in Motor Metropolis, Jakub.
Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first recreation on the Capital Centre in 1974. His ardour for the Caps has grown over the a long time, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and group organizer, and most lately led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering at Previous Dominion College, and is a Techniques Engineer throughout intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals behavior.