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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
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

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81