The Vancouver Canucks announced this morning that they have signed restricted free agent forward Jake Virtanen to a two-year contract
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) July 25, 2018
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.