Jake Virtanen

by Cam Robinson on October 7, 2017

 

Jake Virtanen, RW/C

Shoots: R

Height: 6-1

Weight: 209

Born: 1996-08-17

Hometown: New Westminster, BC, CAN

Drafted: 2014 by Vancouver Canucks, 6th overall

 

 

 

Observations:

October 2017 - The power winger had himself a terrific camp and preseason - recording four goals and six points through all six preseason contests. The result was a position on the team's opening night roster in which he'll line up next to Alex Burmistrov and Sam Gagner. It's been something of a renaissance for the 2014 sixth overall selection as his underwhelming play in the American League last season left many questions about his potential upside. Keep a close eye on his deployment, as there is likely still plenty to be gained by heading down and playing important minutes in Utica rather than sitting in the press box for the Canucks. Cam Robinson

April 2017 – Virtanen finished his second professional season by scoring nine goals and 19 points in 65 AHL contests. The power winger did look more comfortable in the back portion of the season, using his speed and physicality on a more consistent basis but his counting stats must be considered a disappointment. It is likely that the 20-year-old will begin 2017-18 back in the AHL and hope to display further development before pushing back up onto the big club. Cam Robinson

March 2017 - Virtanen has continued to play solid minutes in the AHL for the Utica Comets. While the production has yet to really come - just six goals and 12 points in 46 games, reports continue to be positive about his pace and physicality. At just 20 years of age, there is still hope that the power winger can find a home in the Canucks' top six down the road next to a smart playmaker but mastery at the minor league level would sure be nice to see. Cam Robinson

January 2017 – After scoring goals in three consecutive games in early December, the former sixth overall selection has accumulated just a single assist in his past seven AHL contests. He now sits with just seven points in 20 games down in Utica - not exactly the production that management had imagined when they demoted the 20-year-old power forward. He is still young with plenty of raw potential, but Virtanen continues to slide further and further away from becoming a likely fantasy-relevant asset down the road.  Cam Robinson

 

December 2016 – After his minutes dwindled, the organization decided it's best for him to report to Utica of the AHL and attempt to regain some confidence and build his offensive skill set. Things have not gone as smoothly as all parties involved would like for the 20-year-old winger, as he has just six points in 14 AHL contests. That said, he has scored a goal in four of his past six games while providing some of the rugged play that made him such a force during his days in the WHL. At this point in time, however, he looks to be a longshot to live up to his lofty selection at sixth overall in 2014. Cam Robinson

 

October 2016 – Despite suffering a shoulder injury in his first pre-season game, Virtanen showed enough to crack the Canucks' opening-day roster. The former sixth-overall pick from 2014 is now eligible to play in the AHL after spending all of last season with the big club. Vancouver will give him an opportunity to succeed in a scoring role while Anton Rodin is on the IR with a lingering knee issue. The big question is whether Virtanen will develop better with 18-plus minutes a night in Utica or shuffling through the lineup with the Canucks. In a rough-and-tumble Pacific Division, the Canucks could really use his speed and heavy play, but need to be wary of stunting his offensive growth by placing him in that role too soon. Cam Robinson

 

April 2016 – To say that Virtanen’s first season in the NHL went as most would have hoped likely wouldn’t be accurate… however, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t productive. A rough first two months of the season resulted in the physical winger posting only two points in the season before being released to the Canadian World Junior team. This event saw the young man take an unreasonable amount of criticism for penalties taken in the tournament, including a deplorable front page tar-and-feathering in the Vancouver Sun. While some may have withered under the pressure, the young forward instead worked harder. Though his seven goals and 13 points, along with minus-7 rating and 45 PIM, are hardly earth-shattering, it belies the development in his game. On a squad that left much to be desired, the Finnish-born Canadian still has a great deal of learning to reach his full potential, he certainly accounted well for himself as a 19-year-old – a development which bodes well for his future. David McDonald

 

December 2015 – Virtanen continues to ply his trade in pro hockey, with November representing the ups and the downs associated with a career in the NHL. He managed to score his first goal on November 2nd against Philadelphia, showing off his offensive acumen with a nice backhand while driving the net and beating Steve Mason blocker side.  Unfortunately this represented half of his offensive production in November, posting up only an assist in a game against New Jersey later in the month, with his production topping out at one goal, two points and a minus-3 rating while averaging roughly10:30 of ice time. Virtanen suffered a hip injury on his fourth shift of the night in a game November 30th versus Anaheim, and is currently listed as week-to-week. While Virtanen certainly didn’t have the November he’d have hoped for, he is still a 19 year old who plays a physical game that is going through the natural growing pains. He remains an absolute blue-chip prospect in the Canucks system. David McDonald

 

November 2015 – The Canucks wasted no time in announcing that both Jake Virtanen and fellow 2014 first-round pick Jared McCann have made the team following their eight and nine game auditions respectively. Neither player plays within the top six, but both have made a big impact to start their NHL careers. Virtanen has two assists and leads the team with 29 hits this season. He can be sent back down to the WHL at any point, but once past the 10 game mark, the first year of his entry-level contract will be burnt. Mike Barrett

 

October 2015 – After a very strong training camp where he posted four points (two goals, two assists) in six games, the 19 year old made the Canucks with a year left of junior eligibility. He didn't get his first taste of NHL ice until their fourth game, when he lined up on the right wing next to Brandon Sutter and Derek Dorsett on the third line. He recorded one shot (a distant wrister that may have been going wide), and only Sven Baertschi (9:09) played less than Virtanen's 9:18 time on the ice. That's not to say that he looked out of place, but Willie Desjardins clearly wants to take it slow with the team's top prospect (excluding Horvat). Mike Barrett

 

February 2015 – Virtanen showed us all why he was selected so high at the NHL Entry Draft when he put on one heck of a performance in front of a national audience playing for the Canadian WJC squad. Starting on the fourth line, Virtanen's explosive skating ability, natural scoring instincts and knack for big hits propelled him up the line up quickly, spending time with Connor McDavid, Curtis Lazar and Max Domi on Canada's top two lines. He finished the tournament with four points in seven games (one goal, three assists). Since returning to the WHL's Calgary Hitmen, he has matched his first half point total (19) in four fewer games (14) than how he started the season. The dynamic prospect is trending upwards, and will be looking to have a dominant finish to a season that started with him coming off a serious, long-term injury. Mike Barrett

 

December 2014 – Virtanen returned to play in late October and has produced at over a point-per-game pace since. The most recent first round pick of the Canucks has 19 points (seven goals and 12 points) in 18 games (plus-4). Solid play considering his very lengthy absence from real game action when he was injured last spring. As Virtanen continues to heal and get stronger, expect him to start scoring goals at a higher pac and have a monster second half. Virtanen was named to Team Canada's Selection Camp roster and will be vying for a spot on Canada's World Junior team.  Mike Barrett

 

October 2014 – Jake Virtanen was recently named to Team WHL for the upcoming Subway Super Series tournament vs Russia. While he has not even played yet this year, this obviously exemplifies how highly regarded a player he is. With that being said, it is looking like he will make his season debut Friday, October 24th. Expect him to take a few weeks to get back into things as he had a major injury (torn labrum), and hit his stride just in time to compete for a spot on the Canadian World Junior squad. Mike Barrett

 

September 2014 – While Virtanen did get an invite to Team Canada`s summer evaluation camp, he was unable to show coaches the ability that made the Canucks select him with the sixth overall pick in this spring`s draft. Nursing a shoulder injury since May, the 45-goal scorer from Abbotsford, BC often skated alone on the other side of the ice while his peers practiced. While he may not have been able to participate as he had hoped, his dedication and work ethic do not go unnoticed. Expect Virtanen to take another step forward in his development once he fully recovers from this setback and top his point-per-game pace (71-45-26-71, 100 PIMS) in 2014-15. Mike Barrett

 

June 2014 – The Vancouver Canucks selected Jake Virtanen 6th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Brendan Ross

 

February 2014 – The versatile Virtanen is a highly competitive, three-zone winger and his in-your-face approach to the game makes defending him extremely frustrating. Derived from a strong technical stride, Virtanen gets around the rink well and while he’s not a dazzling puck handler, his puck skills are certainly a strength of his game. With Virtanen’s size, compete level and tenacious attack, Virtanen won’t wait too long at the 2014 NHL Draft to hear his name called.. Brendan Ross

 

 

Fantasy Outlook: B

Virtanen possesses the speed and skill to be a contributing top-six member, but needs continued work on his decision-making at high speeds. His raw skills remain tantalizing

 

 

Footage:

Jake Virtanen  WHL Highlights:

 

 

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