Canucks sign Jake Virtanen to two-year deal

The Vancouver Canucks announced this morning that they have signed restricted free agent forward Jake Virtanen to a two-year contract

The deal is worth an average annual value of $1.25M and is the same deal that former Canucks draft pick Jared McCann signed with the Florida Panthers earlier this summer.

The 21-year-old Virtanen is coming off a season that saw him post 10 goals and 10 assists in 75 games with the Canucks. He showed some encouraging signs to close out the season and will look to build on that heading into the 2018-19 season. If he can show that willingness to use his speed and willingness to drive the net, he should continue to see positive results.

That’s what this deal is all about – taking that next step over the next two years.

With the organization expecting to add an influx of young talent over the next two seasons, it’s fair to believe that Virtanen will be given a chance to take that next step offensively at some point and then it’s just up to him to run with it. If he is unable to do that, he does provide value to the lineup in terms of speed and physical play. It will be really interesting to see how he is played throughout the entire year.

With that being said, without a doubt, he took positive steps forward this year after spending a large portion of the 2016-17 season in the AHL.

With Virtanen signed, the Canucks have 46 contracts on the books for the upcoming season and should have around $10M in cap space to start the year.

  • Totally reasonable. If he remains a 20-25 point third line winger, that’s what he’s worth. If he takes another step forward, he’ll get a raise in a couple years. Makes sense for both sides.

  • Put’s all the JV fans into some kind of reality check. A 6th O/A pick first contract is for $1.25mill/ From his perspective he’s fortunate to get the 2 years and a memo to Jake start a savings account for your future life after hockey 🙂

    • Wow. Harsh comment. He’s 21. There are a ton of great NHL players who took time to find their way. I think Virtanen looked great at times last year, and if Green plays him in 3 on 3 overtime, he will be a revelation. I see him as a 20+ goal scorer for the next 10 years. And this contract gives him all the right incentive to do so.

      • I hear what u say, but at what point does reality count rather than dreams and wishes, nice in a Disney Movie but not in the NHL. The fact is he’s failed to produce, and please no, give him a chnace, give him PP time, the coach doesn’t like him … what ever At the start of each game when the whistle blows he has the same chance as every other player. Just do it !

        • The fact is he’s failed to produce, and please no, give him a chnace, give him PP time, the coach doesn’t like him … what ever

          I think you are confusing Jake with another player. I have not seen comments that Jake has not been given a chance (other than when Botchford was choked early in the season when he was not put out to protect a lead).

          The majority of commentors have shown patience with Jake, and realized (as Jake did) he (and to a lesser extent the team) screwed up during his second year.

          I think the reason why fans show loyalty to Jake is not his draft position, but the fact that he screwed up, realized it, and worked incredibly hard to rectify the situation. He continues to show that work and determination; he will be fine.

    • Yeah, harsh. Among the top 15 picks in 2014, he’s tied for 9th in games played (10th in games played for all First Rounders). General consensus is he was a reach at 6. This time last year it appeared that he may be a bust. Green made him his project, he matured, gained some confidence and showed flashes of what he can be. Hopefully its that fast, punishing, defensively-responsible 15 goal / 35 point top 9 winger (even top 6 in time?) That would be a good outcome at #6. If he achieves these over the next 2 years, the contract will be a steal.

    • Virtanen was a reach at 6 and there were clearly better players available, but that’s on Benning, not on Jake. I’m skeptical he’ll ever be more than a good third liner, but there’s no reason to take it out on the kid.

      • There’s been a lot of good third liners that were drafted in the first round. He’s 21 lots of time to develop. I was hoping the Canucks would have tried Jake Gaudette and Liepsig as a third line but it’s not in the cards.

      • Way too complicated to put blame on one party or the other. Projecting maturity and commitment of a 17-18 year old is an inexact science. If it were easy players would produce In the order in which they were selected. Yes it was easy to see more talented players at the time, but it’s not always all about talent. The intangibles are often just too difficult to reliably predict.

  • Thanks Ryan.
    Hope you enjoyed your vacation with the family.
    I don’t understand the nit-pucking that goes on in here sometimes, if for example, Troy Stecher signing goes uncovered, as there is ample coverage available from many different sites.

  • I don’t think Jake will ever blow the doors off, but I can see him being a 40-50 pt, hard to play against, top 9 to 6 winger. These next two years will define that trajectory.

  • By the end of this contract he’s going to be worth A LOT more. You can’t argue with the JV critics who have smart insightful things to say, YET his upside, I think, is so huge. In a couple years I truly believe he’ll be a solid top 6 guy. I think Jake fluked into the right kind of culture to help him grow his career. He’s no leader, but he could become a heroic foot soldier.

    • I agree, and I like Ryan’s work a lot, but in this case I wish he’d taken the time to praise this contract. So many signings get maligned, and this is a total steal unless you’re a blind Jake-hater. It’s a lot less than Schaller at 1.9 and a good chunk more than Gaunce at 0.75, but I like him better than those two and that role is his absolute rock bottom. He could well be a 40 PT player by the second year, and that would be one hell of a bargain.

  • Some Players mature physically at 18 but mentally several years later. Could this be Jake?? I think he may be the best bargain deal the Canuck’s made this summer.
    Farewell Trev. we’ll miss you.

  • Its interesting that people bemoan the bust that Virtanen is (or appeared to be) and lament giving McCann (and draft pick) away in the alleged lop-sided Gudbranson deal. Seems both just signed for identical dollars and term. What do we take from this?

    • @Dogbreath
      That only one of the asshats left. Benning is hard to fire now because he now is the yes man. Benning will be fired sooner than later because of his terrible signings.

    • That both players have a lot to prove. Jake has a lot more upside than McCann and has learned that he has a lot of work to do if he is going to play in the NHL. Good on Jake for realising his flaws and working hard to improve.