Birthdate: August 17, 1996
2013-14 Team: Calgary Hitmen (Western Hockey League)
From: Abbotsford, British Columbia
Hockey Prospect: 18
Stats (from WHL.ca):
Virtanen has good size at 6 feet and 208 pounds and knows how to use it. The winger from Abbotsford helped Canada win the gold medal in the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and competed well for Canada in the 2014 Under-18 World Championship in Finland.
Tony MacDonald, the Canes’ director of amateur scouting, called Virtanen the “prototypical power forward.”
“He’s a big man who can skate,” MacDonald said. “He’s an NHL skater and he’s got an NHL shot. This guy can really shoot the puck. He’s a shoot-first, ask-questions-later kind of player.
“He can use his speed to go around bigger guys or he might go over the top of you. He’s a physical guy.”
Jake Virtanen is similar to Michael Dal Colle in that he’s a big winger with speed, a great shot and soft hands. As you could see from the video, he’s just as likely to skate right through as he is to skate around you.
Despite his tantalizing skillset, prognosticators are divided on him. Craig Button has him ranked all the way down at 43rd, while NHL Central Scouting has him at sixth. A lot of mock drafts I’ve read have him going sixth to the Vancouver Canucks, which makes a lot of sense considering the BC connection.
However, there will be no shortage of skilled forwards available for the ‘Nucks to think about. If he falls to the Toronto Maple Leafs at eighth and William Nylander and Nikolaj Ehlers are both off the board, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Virtanen in a Leafs’ uniform.