Jake Virtanen Draft Profile

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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

Further Reading: Edmonton Journal

Jake Virtanen Highlights


Jake Virtanen Statistics

SeasonTeamLeagueGPGATPPIM+/- Postseas.GPGATPPIM+/-
2010-11Abbotsford Hawks Bantam A1PCBHL596849117-|
Yale Secondary Lions BlueBCHSHL11120|
2011-12Fraser Valley BruinsBCMML39172239120|
Calgary HitmenWHL931443|Playoffs50004-4
2012-13Calgary HitmenWHL621618346725|Playoffs1524627-2
Canada Pacific U17WHC-1755278|
Calgary HitmenWHL7145267110023|Playoffs61344-2
Canada U18WJC-187336102|
Tournament Statistics
2011-12Team British ColumbiaWCCC-164505-|
BCMML Sabres 1U17 Cup-----|
Canada U18Hlinka Memorial50114-2|
Jake Virtanen is a heads-up player who thinks the game well and is willing to get his nose dirty. He has slick hands, a dynamic shot and a strong stride that makes him dangerous. He can be outright dominant at times offensively with his blend of size, skill and speed. (August 2013) - Elite Prospects
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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

  • Xxxxxnew

    Last I read he could be out until November. End of September was the optimistic guess.

  • Mcost61

    I like this kid, but I think he goes to Vancouver

  • dlb Reggie

    Mcost61 
    i hope so.  i prefer others

  • mr_hanie

    Sounds like Virtanen has the potential to be like Landeskog

  • dlb Reggie

    i find myself impressed with a lot of the things his team mates are doing to get him the puck

  • loomx

    my top choice after Nylander and Ehlers

  • sniperstar

    That backhander is sick.

  • dlb Reggie

    sniperstar 
    he’s got some skill for sure

  • sniperstar

    dlb Reggie Certainly wouldn’t be angry with picking him but there are others I personally tout higher than him.

  • HHT

    He looks like a virtuoso

  • dlb Reggie

    sniperstar
    whoever we pick is the best pick and the exact player i wanted

  • Xxxxxnew

    I have a feeling most of the top guys in this draft won’t be full time NHLers for three or four years.

  • Mcost61

    5 with RC in charge

  • Xxxxxnew

    RC’s only been in Toronto 1.5 seasons.

  • loomx

    The more I think about the forwards next year, the more I think that we gotta keep Kulemin unless we find an identical player who’ll sign for the same amount. Kulemin’s the kind of player we need more of, not less of. Consistently gets 30-40 points and around 10-15 goals and he’s by far our best winger defensively. The only reason he doesn’t get spoken of more highly is because he’s not canadian. In reality, he’s the ideal 3rd liner and by far the best bottom 6 two-way forward we have. He had an off year this year, not coincidentally a year where he played 42% of his time playing with Jay McClement. If the Leafs plan is to let Bolland walk and promote Holland to 3C, Kule would be the perfect stabilizer for that line because he can score and play D. I don’t really see many options to replace him through UFA, but even if there were, we live in a world where Scottie Upshall gets 3.5mil.

    If you can get him for 3mil or less, do it.

  • Mcost61

    Sarcasm, RC’s unwillingness to use rookies.

  • dlb Reggie

    loomx 
    i can’t get excited about Nylander.  i think his name has helped him.  nice hands, but he plays on the outside and doesn’t seem to have any more speed than anyone else.  nice player, but not someone i’d take before at least 8 others.

  • Xxxxxnew

    He gave Jake the second most minutes on the team. Rielly was a rookie.

  • dlb Reggie

    loomx 
    good luck on your next time, Kuli

  • loomx

    dlb Reggie loomx Fact is Kulemin would be a good 3rd liner on practically every team in the league. Not good enough for the Leafs apparently.

  • MaxwellHowe

    loomx dlb Reggie What do you think is 3rd liner money?  Is there a ceiling? Just wondering if there is any team willing to go more than $3 million?

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    loomx 
    The more I think about our forwards next year and a possible (as it is with every player) injury to Kessel. I get depressed and wonder how its possible that a proffesional hockey team in any league in the world could be so retarded and autistic to the max to put itself in a position where its farmer team (in our case – The Marlies) would regularly hand us our ass.
    A line of inept and half baked GMs with the combined IQ of rocking horse Sh!t have done this. I cry every night in my beer. What is fizzy beer like – someone please let me now – I feel Im missing out on something.

  • Tim Horton

    This is the one I  have been waiting for, I feel like he is a better goal scoring Nick Ritchie minus some size and a bit of toughness.  This draft really does seem like a crap shoot, scouts are still changing up their order daily… http://www.mynhldraft.com/NHL-Mock-Draft/ now has Virtanen 13th overall, Ritchie 12th overall and Fabri 16th overall… With us selecting Ehlers… If thats the case I wouldn’t mind trading down at all for an extra 2nd round pick.

  • T K O

    loomx He would be a perfect 3rd liner on any team including the Leafs…. but is he a 3m plus 3rd liner on any team including the Leafs. That changes everything.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Fastest skater forward and backwards at the top prospects game. 
    One of the youngest players in the draft.

  • mcloki

    loomx Kuli walks. No way we sign a guy after we screwed over both his linemates.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Xxxxxnew Ekblad, Ritchie, Virtanen are close

  • dlb Reggie

    DeclanK 
    let’s his linemates do his dirty work, should learn to use his team mates better

  • Burtonboy

    dlb Reggie DeclanK Another D’Amigo ?

  • HHT

    His agent is greedy and he has cement hands.  Not a good combo mcloki loomx

  • dlb Reggie

    Burtonboy
    but with the ability to beat a guy one on one :-)

  • leadbackup

    Xxxxxnew best insight I have seen about the draft this summer.  Lack of consensus means lots of busts from reaching

  • dlb Reggie

    loomx
    or over-rated as far as what he actually contributes

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    mcloki loomx 
    agree with you. I said at the trade deadline: why would a guy who has shown potential at being a 30 goal scorer on th eright line and with the right time (according to him) sign for a team who continually played him in an unfavourable position on the third line with limited scoring possibility and minutes. After all isnt it scoring that dictates the players wage. Hes shown he can and is being played to keep him inexpensive. To keep it short – he is an f-ing moron if he stays.

  • dlb Reggie

    Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs
    haha
    not a chance

  • mcloki

    Just another 28 days of discussion and I am surprised that there isn’t even a peep of a rumour from Leafland.

  • Burtonboy

    dlb Reggie Burtonboy Then that tells me this guy is likely a very good pick :)

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    mcloki 
    Plenty of rumours if due to inactivity from those that matter one peeks at hokeybutt.com.
    However nothing surprises me. We could have a backroom staff of God, Mohammed Hitler and Richard Branson and the Leafs still wouldnt push the boat out. Im starting to wonder whether the Toronto Maple Leafs isnt just latin for the United Nations.

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    dlb Reggie Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs 
    ha ha I bet like me you havent had fizzy beer in what seems lke a lifetime. 
    Same feels bro

  • 4evrblue

    Its my bday!!
    Work ended early, its a beautiful day and my beer are cold. How could a man ask for more?

  • traNsplantEdneWfie

    4evrblue If your dick is still in your pants you have more to ask for.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Virtanen sounds skilled but can he be taught the other aspects of his game that need work? Rush first, perimeter player is what I read here. Not sure if that’s the pressing need.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    4evrblue Happy Birthday blue. Nothing better than cold beer.

  • 4evrblue

    traNsplantEdneWfie 4evrblue The response I have for this is too graphic for this site.

  • Zeus_WilliamMapleLeafs

    4evrblue 
    Happy birthday my friend from across the pond. Have a beer for me, Ive already to have a couple for you. Like I needed coaxing

  • dlb Reggie

    4evrblue 
    leave the hammer where it is
    the ban, that is

  • 4evrblue

    dlb Reggie 4evrblue  Exactly!! I know the banhammer limits!! :)

  • dlb Reggie

    Burtonboy
    no one ever told me i was right about the rest, i won’t expect special treatment when we’re asking “who do you think we’ll get with the 4th round pick we got for D’Amigo”

  • dlb Reggie

    leadbackup
    i don’t connect the two like that

  • vinoa

    4evrblue How about a crown made of bacon?