The draft is approaching very quickly and soon we will know who the first overall pick will be and whether the Panthers keep said pick or not. However, today we’re back with another top 30 NHL draft prospect ahead of the draft. Today we’re taking a look at Jake Virtanen.
With the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL last season Jake Virtanen was a point-per-game player; literally. He recorded 71 points in 71 games with the Hitmen and added 4 points in 6 games during their short post season run. He also laced up for Canada’s U18 team twice recording 7 points in 12 showings.
During the regular season he recorded an impressive 45 goals which led all draft eligible players. Both Virtanen and the Hitmen improved immensely over the past season and Virtanen has scouts salivating over his skills buying himself a likely top 10 pick in the draft.
What A Team Will Get If They Draft Him
With Jake Virtanen you’re going to get a point-per-game player who makes the most of every shift and opportunity he gets. More often than not his chances find the back of the net and his play helps escalate his team to the next level. He’s got dazzling speed which was shown in the CHL all star skills competition where he won the 30 metre sprint contest. His speed combined with his hockey IQ and large frame make him an ideal top 10 pick for any team in June. In addition to his top notch speed and large body he’s got a lazer hard shot which is perfect for rebounds.
He was able to make the jump from a bantam team to the WHL, Virtanen has improved his game a ton this past season and is a very valuable and reliable power forward. Whatever team does take Jake Virtanen will also need to do some developmental work on his and little more than most prospects. He has the skills and the tools to be a top level player but his biggest issue is between his ears, if he can fix that he’ll have no problem excelling at the next level.
His Most Underrated Skill
For Virtanen, his underrated skill has more to do with how he’s built and his frame. Not only is he a large player at 6 foot 1 and 210 pounds, he still has room to bulk up and become an even better power forward. His strong skating ability is able to cary his large frame which will serve him well when he adds more muscle. He’s able to use his size and skill to go forward and be effective in the dirty areas of the ice which helps free his linemates up.
With his big body and quick speed, Virtanen has the skill to be a tremendous power forward going forward. He’s a very capable physical player who moves well for such a big body which will only aid him in the NHL. He’s quite strong along the boards and will aid in any offencive or defencive battle.
What He Needs To Work On
As mentioned above, Jake Virtanen definitely has some work to do moving forward. He’s got to get the mental side of his game in tact so his confidence and skill both shine through. He also needs to keep his emotions in tack as he often times gets a little too rough and takes penalties at the wrong time. A team will need to reign him both emotionally and mentality before he’s ready for a full time role in the NHL.