NHL Rumors: 4-5 Teams Interested In Former Canucks Player

Jake Virtanen is ready to make his return to the NHL after he was found not guilty of any sexual assault allegations towards him. When the accusations came out, it threw his career off and the Vancouver Canucks bought out the final year of his contract. Due to his age, they were only subject to paying one-third of the cap hit, $50,000 in 2021-22 and $500,000 for 2022-23.

Now that Virtanen is cleared, he is ready to resume his NHL career and four to five teams, including the Edmonton Oilers, have shown interest, according to Rick Dhaliwal of The Athletic.
Virtanen is a former sixth overall pick by the Canucks in 2014 and he never reached his potential. He spent six seasons in the NHL and suited up for 317 games. In his career he has scored 55 goals and 100 points. It appeared as though he was finally finding his stride in the NHL and pushing to become a top-six player eventually before scoring just five goals and no assists in 38 games during the 2020-21 season.

Virtanen hasn't been more than a third line winger in his career, and there isn't any hope for a reunion with the Canucks after they didn't give him a chance to prove his innocence before parting ways. For a bottom-six player, he plays physical and a gritty game while also being able to score goals which isn't an easy task to find for a depth player. Teams looking to bolster their bottom-six, like the Oilers are, should be able to sign Virtanen on a cheap one-year deal as he tries to make a return to the NHL. The Oilers have been successful in these types of signings before with Zack Kassian and Evander Kane, so it makes sense that there is interest.

Photo credit: © Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports