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Why is Virtanen not playing Left Wing?


Erik Karlsson

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The year he scored 45 goals he played mostly left wing. Pretty much all of his goals in the WJ's last year and this year are on the left side of the ice.

He is a goal scorer. A right handed shot playing on the left side has a WAY better shooting angle.

Jake's best assets are his speed and shot, so why isn't he playing on left wing where he can get the most out of them?

He's never going to be a set up man and is always looking to shoot, so him playing right wing just doesn't make very much sense. Look at Ovi, he plays way better offensively on the left side.

I've been saying since last year he needs to play left wing if we want to get the most out of him offensively. 

Not only is there a much better shooting angle if he plays left wing, he also can drive to the net much easier while protecting the puck and using his speed on that side. Just like his very first goal last year at the wjs.

Everyone always says he has one move and that's the wrap around. Well that's pretty much the only play he can do playing on the right side with his speed since he clearly lacks vision and is no playmaker.

I'm no hockey star but even in my experience my goal totals have usually doubled when I'm playing lw compared to rw. It's definitely harder on the breakout playing on your off wing but you get used to it pretty fast and Jake's best seasons were playing lw.

Something that's been bugging me for a while. Every time I've seen him play left wing he looks far more involved and better offensively.

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I agree with you.

I really want to see him more utilized on the left wing. However, i thought Virtanen elected to switch to  RW? Can't remember, thought I heard/seen it somewhere. 

I'll try and find it.

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On the power play it's more appropriate to see players in the NHL play on their off-wing.  More space.

With the softening of NHL defenses as of late, perhaps more off-wing play will be recommended.  But every now and then you see a player get tagged with a huge hit when they cut into the middle.  Risk/reward.  I think it helps when you're virtually indestructible like OV.

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That is a good point. Ovi does that, I know that Kucherov is a LHS playing RW. We do lack depth at the RW so I'm sure that is the main reason he plays RW. I hope when we see him again in the NHL Willie goes with Virtanen-Sutter-Burrows.

 

Also I haven't seen Virtanen do a one-timer in a long time, and I believe that his one-timer is deadly.

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18 minutes ago, Blueberries said:

That is a good point. Ovi does that, I know that Kucherov is a LHS playing RW. We do lack depth at the RW so I'm sure that is the main reason he plays RW. I hope when we see him again in the NHL Willie goes with Virtanen-Sutter-Burrows.

 

Also I haven't seen Virtanen do a one-timer in a long time, and I believe that his one-timer is deadly.

I agree that the OP has a good point, and I think Haikara and BanTSN have good explanations for why the Canucks have Virtanen at RW.

I think the logic is that playing on the off-wing is not good in the defensive zone where a steal give the opponent a shot from a prime shooting area. A steal to the outside (between the player and the boards) is much less dangerous.

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10 minutes ago, JamesB said:

I agree that the OP has a good point, and I think Haikara and BanTSN have good explanations for why the Canucks have Virtanen at RW.

I think the logic is that playing on the off-wing is not good in the defensive zone where a steal give the opponent a shot from a prime shooting area. A steal to the outside (between the player and the boards) is much less dangerous.

True, but it's also something that can be situational.  Wingers do switch to their off-side when they enter the offensive zone on the rush and sometimes set up there too.  Mainly a question of getting the green light to do it within a system. 

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I think at the NHL level it's about protecting the puck, as mentioned above, and Jake's not Mr Dangles.

But the thing that interested me when reading the title was that beauty goal Jake scored in preseason, from the left side, top of the circle on the PP. Little button hook at the blue line one step, snaps 'er high... seem to think it was short side but not sure.

Anyhow, I'm thinking it's a safety first call for Lowry. He's a safety first kinda coach, it's how the Royals are actually winning. "Safety" as in D.

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2 hours ago, Haikara said:

It's a bit safer for players to carry the puck on the outer side (right wing for right-handers), and safe is what Willie D wants.

OP has a good point and this is probably the reason for it.  I would just like to add that over time, as Jake feels better playing in the NHL, he may move back to the left.

Having said that, the Canucks are deeper on the left at the moment.

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2 hours ago, Maniwaki Canuck said:

True, but it's also something that can be situational.  Wingers do switch to their off-side when they enter the offensive zone on the rush and sometimes set up there too.  Mainly a question of getting the green light to do it within a system. 

Good point. It is possible to have a system where the wingers often switch to the off-side on the rush and I guess I have seen it quite often. But most coaches seems to prefer the "straight line" system, especially for the bottom two lines.

I just hope that Jake finds his niche one way or the other.

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I agree he is more dangerous on his left wing, but he is also more of a liability on the break out. An winger on his off wing is taking breakout passes constantly on his back hand, and having to move it off his back hand as well. Not to mention you're looking back over your shoulder to receive outlet passes. Seeing as he's a young player whose learning a new system, with NHL skill players and heavier hitters it's probably a safer bet keeping him on his proper wing 

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