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(Discussion) Did the Canucks ruin Jake Virtanen's development by gifting him a spot on the team?

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On 7/27/2021 at 8:51 AM, knucklehead91 said:

........outside of confidence, Jakes biggest issue was a personality issue. He never seemed to be fully engaged, he lacked emotion. He just doesnt have that meanness and snarl in him. And thats a personality issue and not a character flaw. He obviously has some character flaws off ice.

You look at him on camera and its always the same deadpan face, no emotion to it. For a power forward and a guy who needs confidence to build his game, its impossible to build his own confidence if he isnt playing off emotions. Look at Tom Wilson for example, he doesnt have great hands, his hands are decent, but he has lots of confidence and when he isnt scoring he is plastering guys through the boards into the ice, mixing it up and going to the dirty areas with zero f**ks given and his emotions build and build and build and he drives the net harder and harder each time and opens up ice for himself. Same with Josh Anderson, he exudes confidence, how many times in the playoffs did he take the puck right at 2 or 3 guys, get through them and get a chance on goal. He failed to score many times, but his confidence and emotions kept him going right at guys and going straight to the net and you can see it on Anderson and Wilsons face, they show expressions. I honestly cant think of a time where I saw a scowl on Virtanens face after a shift. Maybe Im wrong, but I cant think of a time where I saw emotion in Virtanen. And i think that killed any chance of him being a consistent player


First off, I have to laugh at the negative emojis the OP gets simply for asking the question.  And worked awhile on the post.  I think, at least one time, as Jake is leaving, to have one dedicated thread on the topic, is fine.  Kill the messenger is popular on here.  lol


He has always had this baby face on the ice, especially during any kind of skirmish. Either he'd be the first to skate away from trouble, or if his linemates were engaged, he'd look to join in the fray very reluctantly. Always looked a little frightened and boyish, if that's a word. Like he was trying his best NOT to piss off an opponent he was closest to.  I expected it in his first year, being in awe and a little fearful of older big veterans on other teams.  But his facial expressions, and more importantly his demeanour, never seemed to change over the years. He still looked like a wide-eyed rookie.  He had some great hits, but it was like...."there I made a hit...now leave me alone!" He just never had the inner desire to even sustain that level for a full game, let alone a string of games.


He reminds me of Donny Taylor's philosophy on if he won the lottery.  Or if he was "bought out" with multi-millions.  While others on the station were debating still working, he was quick to say, he'd immediately quit the job the next day, and enjoy life.   It seemed like when Jake signed his first post-ELC contract, which would have been more generous if he'd shown more, he was happy. He'd "made it".  Schmoozing with celebrities, home boy hero, and popular at parties and bars.  He was a millionaire.   Why do more if life was rewarding him already for the level of effort he had shown so far?  I think he's never really matured as a hockey player, or as a man in general frankly. 


I was appalled with JB's decision to re-sign him to a 5 million dollar contract, doubling his past contract value.  Okay, this is not a Jim bash thread so I'll resist piling on about that, but it seemed a knee jerk move after missing out on Toffoli. How did Jake deserve to double his salary?? and for more than one year?  Sure he got 18 goals the previous season, but his overall play, aggression, engagement for full 60 min. was still glaringly lacking. Most notably he disappeared in our bubble playoff run, the perfect opportunity to show the team and fans how he could be a difference maker. The only explanation for re-signing and continuing to trot him out, even playing high up in the lineup, was the Aqua-Benning management team were still desperate to not lose face on that draft pick.  When even the newbiest newbies on CDC could see he was not worth re-investing.  Even Clutch would have had a thread going years ago on him already.  Why do I sense Jake, like Donny would be, smiling to himself at being bought out, so he can party full time now and be paid anyways?  Maybe not, but that's the image he's created.  Its all on him.




Edited by kilgore
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Bit of both I’d say. 

JV should not have made the roster when he did. 

Management realized the mistake and tried to rectify it by sending him to the AHL for the whole season. But one season wasn’t enough.

When he failed to dominate the AHL, the right thing to do was to keep him there. Give him more time to figure out his game and test himself against easier  competition. 

So yeah I agree — I don’t think they handled Virtanens development very well and if they did he would be a serviceable third line player. 

But i still think the ultimate blame goes to Virtanen. So many people are dying to get opportunities that he got. Most of them don’t. He had six years to figure it out. 

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Was he brought in too early? Perhaps. But lots of players make the transition just fine. Ater he was seasoned in the league he got plenty of opportunities to show what he was capable of with top linemates and he squandered almost them all of them.


His set of tools was ready from the get-go. His mind was not.


...and never became so.

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