Tracking the Storm

Draft Profile: Jake Virtanen

Thursday, 06.26.2014 / 10:00 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Draft Profile: Jake Virtanen
Much like fellow top prospect Nick Ritchie, Jake Virtanen could become the next big power forward in the NHL.
Each weekday leading up to the 2014 NHL Draft on June 27-28, CarolinaHurricanes.com will profile one player we believe might be available for Carolina’s seventh pick. Previous Profiles: Nick Ritchie | Sam Reinhart | Brendan Perlini | Kasperi Kapanen | Haydn Fleury | Aaron Ekblad | Leon Draisaitl | Michael Dal Colle | Sam Bennett | Related Links: 2014 NHL Draft Preview | Hurricanes Draft History




Michael Smith
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Much like fellow top prospect Nick Ritchie, Jake Virtanen could be the National Hockey League’s next big power forward.

Virtanen is a 6-foot-1, 208-pound winger who was the NHL’s Central Scouting Service’s ninth ranked North American skater at the midterms but jumped three spots to sixth by the final rankings.

“He’s the type of player that could go through you, over top of you or around you because he’s a great skater,” said Tony MacDonald, the Canes lead amateur scout.

An Abbotsford, British Columbia, native, Virtanen completed his second full season with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League in 2013-14. He ranked first on the team and fourth in the WHL in goals (45), tallying nine multi-goal games. He also ranked third on the team in points (71), stringing together an eight-game point streak in December and January and a six-game point streak in February.

JAKE VIRTANEN
Jake Virtanen
LEFT WING
HOMETOWN: ABBOTSFORD, BC
HEIGHT: 6'1"
WEIGHT: 208
BIRTHDAY: AUG. 17, 1996 (AGE 17)

“He’s got a great shot, an NHL shot, actually,” MacDonald said.

He was also a plus-23 player and posted 100 penalty minutes, second-most on the team, displaying the bit of edge he can play with as a big body.

“He’s a very hard guy to play against,” MacDonald said. “He’s a tough guy to defend because of his size, strength and skating.”

Virtanen, 17, factored in with a goal and three assists (four points) in six games as Calgary was bested 4-2 by the Kootenay Ice in the first round of the WHL playoffs.

In his first full season in the WHL in 2012-13, Virtanen ranked second in team rookie scoring with 34 points (16g, 18a). He added six points (2g, 4a) in 15 postseason games, again ranking second on team rookie scoring, as Calgary dropped a Game 7 decision to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference finals.

Virtanen recently underwent surgery in Vancouver to repair an “unstable” shoulder and is expected to miss four to six months, marking a potential return to the ice in August or September and game action in October. Even still, the injury is not likely to affect his draft position.

Virtanen, who holds dual citizenship in Canada and his father’s native country of Finland, competes for Team Canada internationally. Most recently, Virtanen captured bronze in the IIHF World U-18 Championship, posting six points (3g, 3a) in seven tournament games.

“He had a very strong under-18 tournament with Canada,” MacDonald said. “He scored some big goals for them.”

And in the near future, he’ll be scoring some big goals for an NHL team with one of the first 10 picks on Friday in Philadelphia.



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72