The Edmonton Oilers are one of multiple teams believed to have expressed interest in free agent forward Jake Virtanen.
This, according to Vancouver Canucks insider Rick Dhaliwal, who said on his show Tuesday that the Oilers are in the mix.
“All I was told was there’s a rumour about the Oilers, I do believe the Oilers are one of the teams in the mix,” he said on his show, Donnie and Dhali – The Team. “I think there’s four or five (teams).
“Jake Virtanen, the size, speed, he comes cheap. That’s why there’s four or five teams in on him.”
Virtanen, 26, was drafted by the Canucks 6th overall in the 2014 draft, but the team placed him on leave in May 2021 after sexual assault allegations arose. His contract was eventually bought out by the team in July.
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In relation to the allegations, Virtanen was charged with one count of sexual assault by the British Columbia Prosecution Service in January 2022, but was found not guilty by a jury in July.
He spent last season playing for Spartak Moskva in the KHL where he scored nine goals and 16 points in 36 games. Standing at 6’1, 227 lbs, Virtanen has some speed and size, as Dhaliwal mentioned above.
Despite that, he never has been able to hit his potential coming out of the draft and during the 2020-21 season, Virtanen scored just five goals and as many points in 38 games. He’s never been a strong driver of play himself, either. According to Natural Stat Trick, his shot attempt share, goal share and expected goal share have consistently sat below 50% during his career.
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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]