Vancouver Canucks Jake Virtanen Signs in KHL

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The Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen is headed to the KHL. The Athletic’s Rick Dhaliwal reports the embattled former Canucks forward is joining Spartak Moscow. Terms of the deal are yet to be disclosed.

Vancouver Canucks Jake Virtanen Headed to KHL

On Tuesday, reports emerged that the right wing signed a deal with Spartak Moscow of the KHL.  The Canucks surprised last year in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but failed to replicate that success this year despite their young, talented core. Virtanen had one more year remaining on his current contract, carrying an annual cap hit of $2.550 million. However, that deal was bought out after being sued for alleged sexual assault. The  25-year-old was placed on leave in May after the suit went public.

Key Players

In Virtanen, Spartak has added a young forward that might have more growing to do on and off the ice. A first round pick (sixth overall) in the 2014 entry draft, he didn’t reach the expectations placed on many Top 10 picks. In six NHL seasons, his highest goal total came in the 2019-20 season when he scored 18 goals and 36 points in 69 games. This year, he only scored five goals for five points, in addition to 41 penalty minutes. His possession numbers were 45.3 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of -2.4. Like many of Vancouver’s players this year, Virtanen wasn’t producing or contributing as much as the team expected from him.

What This Means for the Future

The Canucks still look fine with regards to their future. The team has a plethora of talented forwards, and still believe Thatcher Demko will develop into a bonafide NHL-caliber starter. His buyout will carry a $500,00 cap hit for the next two seasons. Vancouver seems to be rid of a big time headache. Virtanen may have also played his last game in North America. Teams may be reluctant to take a chance on a person with such problems.

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