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Tracking the Storm

Draft Profile: Jake Virtanen

Thursday, 06.26.2014 / 10:00 AM / 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 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 41 15 13 -8 28
J. Faulk 46 8 18 -14 26
J. Skinner 41 10 9 -7 19
E. Lindholm 46 9 10 -10 19
R. Nash 46 7 12 -4 19
J. Tlusty 39 11 7 -12 18
N. Gerbe 42 4 13 -2 17
V. Rask 46 6 9 -9 15
A. Sekera 44 1 14 -8 15
C. Terry 33 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 5 8 2 .916 2.32
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45