It was all starting to come together for Jake Virtanen, but he’ll now miss a good chunk of the season thanks to injury. The young Vancouver Canucks forward will be out a month with a fractured rib according to head coach Travis Green. Green also indicated that Chris Tanev is seeing a doctor today to determine the length of his injury timeline. Virtanen had already been placed on injured reserve.
Virtanen, 22, has already set career-highs this season with 12 goals and 22 points. As he starts to become the power forward the team envisioned when they selected him sixth overall in 2014, the Canucks have begun to give him more responsibility and ice time. Virtanen has responded well, recording 119 hits in 58 games while still posting positive possession statistics.
The injury, likely sustained on an open-ice hit from Ryan Getzlaf, will put a temporary end to all the progression Virtanen has experienced this season. After already missing the team’s last two games, another month would mean a total of 13 contests lost. It would also mean that the young forward won’t be able to help the team push for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, something that is just barely out of reach. The Minnesota Wild currently hold the second wild card position with 60 points, while the Canucks sit at 59 and fourth in the Pacific Division.