Former first overall pick in the 2011 WHL Draft, Jake Virtanen is likely my favourite non-center forward prospect within the Leafs range come the end of next month. While an imperfect prospect, the 6-foot-1, 209-pound Virtanen adds NHL-level tools for teams looking for goal-scoring ability. When asked to paint a picture of the Calgary Hitmen forward, ‘speed’ and ‘mean’ are front and center with the goal-scoring winger. He explodes into top speed with a quick first few strides, with an ability to beat defenders wide or burst into open scoring pockets. Utilizing his speed, he has a tendency to absolutely destroy opponents in open ice or on the forecheck when so inclined. What earns Virtanen his top prospect status, however, is his ability to score goals with a high-end release, evidenced in the 45 he scored in 71 games this past season, placing him among the WHL’s Top 10. However, as with almost all young players, there are question marks and weaknesses. While a strong and quick player, he isn’t a polished player away from the puck, and often adds little when the puck is not on his stick. He’s not one to consistently go into corners and grind in order to retrieve possession. He’s a rush-first player who is able to pick corners with absolute ease, but just how effectively will the offense translate at the next level? Shoulder surgery wiping out his draft combine, off-season training and start to next season may hurt his draft position. Virtanen played the end of the WHL regular season, the WHL playoffs, and the U18 World Championships (6 points in 7 games) with the injury. There’s both risk and ample upside here with one of the youngest players in the 2014 draft class.
- Brian Huddle
Jake Virtanen Highlights
Jake Virtanen Statistics
|2010-11||Abbotsford Hawks Bantam A1||PCBHL||59||68||49||117||-||||
|Yale Secondary Lions Blue||BCHSHL||1||1||1||2||0||||
|2011-12||Fraser Valley Bruins||BCMML||39||17||22||39||120||||
|Canada Pacific U17||WHC-17||5||5||2||7||8||||
|2011-12||Team British Columbia||WCCC-16||4||5||0||5||-||||
|BCMML Sabres 1||U17 Cup||-||-||-||-||-||||
|Canada U18||Hlinka Memorial||5||0||1||1||4||-2||||
Speed – Big man speed with acceleration, agility, balance. Won the 30 metre sprint, backward and forward, at the CHL Top Prospects game.
Shot – Big gun, quick finger, hits target, penetrates net.
Power forward – Jake Virtanen has the size, skating, drive and physicality teams look for in a power forward – Jake is probably the purest power forward in the draft.
Improvements to make – Judging by his performance in January (13 goals and 20 points in 14 games), Jake has already come a long way. However, he should continue to work on using his teammates better, push for excellence in his defensive work and exert his physicality on a constant basis to win puck battles.
Draft placement – Most have Jake at or around the top 10 now but if he continues to produce at or improve upon his January pace he could go significantly higher because his size and physical skills are as elite as just about anyone in the draft. - mynhldraft.com
What I don't get is putting these kids through all this combine stuff. You can't tell me that scouts haven't been watching these kids from 16 on. Then when they don't partake in a certain event it's broken down to even the minute detail on the tile hes standing on
I do like this consensus list although it hasn't been updated since March 21. Obviously some of these kids ranking may have changed in the final rankings which would change this order some.
We need to keep this on file: http://xkcd.com/1357/
I don't know why we keep focusing on who was picked in the particular 8th slot. Should be looking at who was picked from 8 on as those players were still available after whichever team picked 7th. Many times consensus fades after the first few picks of the draft and teams start to pick a little more away from the rankings. Just my $0.02
Fabbri seems to be the popular pick to jump up. I think a guy who will go higher then we think will be Alex Tuch or McCann
@Burtonboy I thought MaQuire aka Nipplehead got the job.
@ShiftyD Brilliant. Will be watching.
@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan About time you rolled out of bed ;P
Same as the NFL, but the most knowledgeable all agree it's the game films that tell you the most. Ratings, ratings, ratings.
@FRyan Mathematics precise comparisons and data. Also indicators of trainable attributes.
I would love the Leafs to grab Nylander at 8
One thing i noticed out of that is the number of LW's. I wonder if its a trend if we were to go back a like last yr was it a lot of rw's etc
@Xxxxxnew So much mediocrity
@Xxxxxnew haha, Mark Bell
@CanuckUKinToronto Getting a bit ahead of ourselves on Strome, perhaps.
@CanuckUKinToronto Nick Ritchie seems to be the most likely to jump to the NHL. Myself, I want the Leafs to take the most highly skilled forward available
@mike_84 I like what I have heard of Tuch, but I was pretty stunned to look up his stats this year and discover that next year's consensus #2 overall is already crushing his numbers: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/teams/0065622014.html
Yes - I can see either one of those guys entering the top-10 including Fabbri. Leafs got a long look at Fabbri all year to the Memorial Cup as he's teammamtes with Matt Finn.
Also in-depth personal interviews. A lot of the non-scout team officials haven't spoken to these guys yet.
I'd go for that but the teams that would deal down have all the control, dictate the terms. They need to hit a home run to justify it to their fans. I don't know if it would be worth is. The more I read the less this draft blows me away. Someone here yesterday was saying they've watched Ekblad and he's slow. This Fabbri that's being mentioned just made it to 160 pounds. Even Bennet is light, 177. Talented, but some fans think we have a chance at getting our No. 1 C in this draft when more likely it will be a second or third liner who finishes junior than spends a couple years with the Marlies.
That's what they said about Skinner in his draft year and people were shocked when 'Canes took him at #8. Guys like Eberle and Giroux dropped out of the top-10 in their respective draft years because of size. Can't argue with the offensive numbers put up at the NHL level.
That is what Fabbri can potentially bring.
@Xxxxxnew Kreider was 187 when drafted. I'm betting Bennett will be in the 185 range by the time he's drafted. I don't foresee that kind of growth spurt in Bennett (Kredier is now 230, I think), but being 177 at 17 doesn't necessarily make him light. Otherwise, agree with your sentiment. I would trade the pick for a player who has fallen out of favor - like Evander Kane or Tyler Myers.
Oh and I am done now. Doing S.F.A. for the remainder of the weekend. Did all my deck work last weekend put new rails and gates on it then pressure washed it all top to bottom. Looking like new again and I'm just going to enjoy it. LOL
I was trying to say in my backwards way Bennett is "light" in terms of stepping in next year for a team like the Leafs if fans are expecting immediate help. Kredier is a perfect example of a guy picked a bit lower in the first round who has worked out - four years after his draft he made it as a regular with the Rangers.