While it appeared as though the Edmonton Oilers had moved on from Jake Virtanen, that isn’t the case. The team has announced that the former Vancouver Canucks forward will join them in training camp on a professional tryout, along with Jason Demers, whose PTO was reported previously.
Virtanen, 26, is actually skating with the group today, according to Mark Spector of Sportsnet.
Selected sixth overall in 2014, Virtanen had a tumultuous career with the Canucks, scoring 55 goals in 317 games, and never turning into the top-line power forward that they had hoped for. His play on the ice, however, was completely overshadowed in 2021 when he was placed on leave from the Canucks after “concerning allegations” were made regarding a sexual assault that allegedly took place in 2017.
His contract was eventually bought out after the Canucks tried to trade him, and following a civil lawsuit filed last summer, he signed in the KHL. Earlier this year, the Vancouver Police Department charged Virtanen with sexual assault, and he underwent a trial this summer.
On July 26, a jury found Virtanen not guilty after a week-long trial.
He’ll now receive another chance in the NHL, at least for the preseason. His play in the KHL didn’t really deserve it – Virtanen had nine goals and 16 points in 36 games – but there have been tantalizing flashes of upside in the past for the former Calgary Hitmen star. The Oilers will give him an opportunity to show that skill, though a PTO does not guarantee an NHL contract of any sort.