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Jake Virtanen | #18 | RW


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So, you're saying we should have kept Raymond over Henrik?

Correct me if I'm wrong but playmaking was less of an issue with Raymond than the fact his build had him being physically overpowered constantly.Its actually a testament to how fast he actually is allowing him a few decent scoring seasons while being underwhelming in the strength dept.
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Longtime Calgary Hitmen fan here...

Jake is an amazing talent and you can tell that even at 17 that he can dominate at the junior level. However, this past year for him was a real catch-22: He didn't play 1st line time with the Calgary Hitmen, as the team constantly went with the older veterans for the PP, the last few minutes, and for the majority of the ice time. The other side of the coin is that while he was getting less ice time and playing with 2nd/3rd line players, he consistently got into a "puck hog" mentality as the guys with him were not at the same offensive level.

Maybe both a cause and effect of his ice time was that Jake, while looking spectacular sometimes, can come off appearing as an immature and selfish player who doesn't utilize his teammates. I, for one, think that's something that Jake can work on and am not shocked that a 17 year-old can sometimes act "immature": that leadership, puck-dishing ability, and character can come this year, and I totally expect him (when he returns from injury) to be playing 1st-line minutes along with Greg Chase, someone who can keep up with Virtanen.

This upcoming 2014-15 season will be the bellwether season for Jake Virtanen: a solid point total, a bunch of games where he will wear a letter for the team, and much much MUCH more ice-time will let us know if he's closer to becoming a player like Rick Nash or Raffi Torres. I think Jake has all the potential to be closer to the player Rick Nash is, it's all in how much he wants to work on it.
Saw this on HF. Very interesting points. He's also 1 month to old to be in next years draft. Reinhart and Ritchie were all in their 3rd years when drafted. This was Jakes 2nd in the CHL which means that some of these higher picks had 1 more full year of development already. If all goes well and Jake gets more playing time(1st line mins, PP time) I can see him going 50-50 next year while being a physical force on the ice. Thats just me being optimistic though.

Edited by Tangerines
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Wayne Gretzky? Horrible Skater,

Luc Robitaille? First time I saw him play, my first thought was "I can skate better than that"

Ray Sheppard? I don't even know if he COULD skate, but he could score 50 goals,

Speed will keep you in the NHL, and get you that 3-4 line job, if you happened to be faster than the next guy,

But Skill trumps all, ability to see how the play is developing and where you or your teammates need to be and what you need to do when you get there is what separates the main-eventers from the Jabroni's in this league.

Were that not the case, and speed/size is all that mattered, Sestito and Mike Brown would be perennial all-stars.

Unfortunately for then, they can bull their way to a certain part of the ice or get there faster then the next guy, but by the time that happens someone with "Hockey I.Q" has has already taken the play elsewhere.

The game has changed since the Gretzky era.The league was filled with plodding slow tough defencemen.I think Pavel Bure skating through all five opposing players like he did was the most obvious evidence of that.
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Shinkaruk and Virtanen to start their NHL careers already with major hip and shoulder surgeries. Hopefully they make a big playoff push early in their careers because the longer they're in the NHL, the worse they're going to get. Shinkaruk seems like the type of forward who will have instant success in the league, whereas Jake looks like more of a Kassian-like project that will take longer which doesn't mould well with his surgery.

That being said, we could have gone the route of a Nichushkin instead of Horvat last year and had instant success, or an Ehlers/Nylander and had instant NHL success, but this entire team is a project at the moment. We might as well pick late bloomers who we can develop properly rather than thrust forwards into the league and hope they do well. It works sometimes, but is far more risky than taking our time.

Virtanen is probably 2 or 3 years away from the NHL, by which time here's our core (assuming it remains untouched):

Jensen - ? - Shinkaruk

Kassian - Horvat - Virtanen

Gaunce/Vey/Cassels/McCann

Edler - Tanev

Sbisa - Corrado

Lack

Markstrom

Some pretty decent building blocks there. Edler, Tanev or Corrado may end up top-10 NHL defencemen which is ideally what we want (would have to be very lucky though) but that forward group is still lacking some skill and a #1 center. Virtanen, Kassian and Jensen are lovely big pieces to have though and build around. They're bigger and late bloomers which is why it's smarter to draft them earlier, then draft skilled forwards later.

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Just for the record, no one has said Virtanen's shoulder surgery was major I don't think. There is such a thing as a minor surgery, but regardless Virtanen is healing well and should be ready to get back into practicing come October.

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He played through the injury the whole season and it didn't bother him at all. I don't think it is as major as some are making it out to be, he got the surgery so he can heal over the summer and be ready for next season.

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Shinkaruk and Virtanen to start their NHL careers already with major hip and shoulder surgeries. Hopefully they make a big playoff push early in their careers because the longer they're in the NHL, the worse they're going to get. Shinkaruk seems like the type of forward who will have instant success in the league, whereas Jake looks like more of a Kassian-like project that will take longer which doesn't mould well with his surgery.

That being said, we could have gone the route of a Nichushkin instead of Horvat last year and had instant success, or an Ehlers/Nylander and had instant NHL success, but this entire team is a project at the moment. We might as well pick late bloomers who we can develop properly rather than thrust forwards into the league and hope they do well. It works sometimes, but is far more risky than taking our time.

Virtanen is probably 2 or 3 years away from the NHL, by which time here's our core (assuming it remains untouched):

Jensen - ? - Shinkaruk

Kassian - Horvat - Virtanen

Gaunce/Vey/Cassels/McCann

Edler - Tanev

Sbisa - Corrado

Lack

Markstrom

Some pretty decent building blocks there. Edler, Tanev or Corrado may end up top-10 NHL defencemen which is ideally what we want (would have to be very lucky though) but that forward group is still lacking some skill and a #1 center. Virtanen, Kassian and Jensen are lovely big pieces to have though and build around. They're bigger and late bloomers which is why it's smarter to draft them earlier, then draft skilled forwards later.

I appreciate your post, but gotta do a little more research first. Jensen plays right wing, Kassian cant consistently get a puck out of his zone, so putting him on his off wing isn't a great idea either. I do like the idea of having Virtanen with Kassian and Horvat though, just on left wing.

I have to disagree with the Nichuskin idea that he would have worked right away. Who would have passed him the puck? We don't have a Benn and Seguin. Claiming instant success for Ehlers and Nylander before seeing them play 1 game in the NHL is a bit optimistic don't you think. I like Ehlers, but I would never say he will have instant NHL success, that rarely happens.

Edited by Derp...
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I haven't watched any of Virtanen, but from reports, he sounds a lot like E Kane. I haven't heard that comparison yet, but Kane is a North/South player, likes to shoot off the rush, is physical, and from Vancouver. Sounds like a close comparison.

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I haven't watched any of Virtanen, but from reports, he sounds a lot like E Kane. I haven't heard that comparison yet, but Kane is a North/South player, likes to shoot off the rush, is physical, and from Vancouver. Sounds like a close comparison.

You nailed it. If you ask me, Virtanen's closest comparison has to be Evander Kane. North/South player with BLAZING SPEED, but still with significant size and wicked shots. Both also have good enough hands that it allows them to do same cool moves, but they're not elite at it. Really tough to play against because they can burn you with their speed, and the next second can muscle you up. I would say Kane however, is definitely the more talented one when it came to their draft years. But yes, if we are talking comparison, Evander Kane is as good of one as you can get if you ask me.

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Does anyone know where on you tube we could watch the U18 Canada games? I looked and cant find them anywhere. I wanted to do some scouting on Virtanen and McCann. I watched some of the games but would like to watch these 2 guys in more detail.

Edited by messier's_elbow
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Does anyone know where on you tube we could watch the U18 Canada games? I looked and cant find them anywhere. I wanted to do some scouting on Virtanen and McCann. I watched some of the games but would like to watch these 2 guys in more detail.

McCann didn't have a very good tourney.

Virtannen was the best player for team canada and stood out in a positive way.

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Best thing about Virtanen is he wants to be here. You all saw how happy he and his family were. Very much like Shinkaruk when he was drafted. IMO he will be better than Kane due to the fact that he is playing at home, and it doesn't appear he has much of an attitude issue

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Kid's got an awesome backhand shot and one heck of a wraparound technique. Most players start their wrap on the side, his starts right behind the net.

I noticed that. Many talk about his physical play and his wrister and speed but man that backhander is just nasty.

I think my favorite thing about virt is the diversity in which he scores goals. Sometimes he uses speed. Sometimes he uses brute force. Sometimes he uses his hands sometimes he uses his laser shot sometimes ita a backhand changeup.

Not who I wanted at 6. But still very pleased.

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