Don’t expect former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen to be back in the NHL anytime soon. Today, the 26-year-old signed a one-year contract to remain with the DEL’s Fischtown Penguins in 2023-24.
Virtanen, 26, recorded just two goals and two assists in 16 combined regular season and playoff games with Fischtown last year after a late-season transfer. He spent the majority of 2022-23 playing for Swiss side EHC Visp, a member of the country’s second-tier SL league.
Near the end of the 2020-21 season, Virtanen’s last in the NHL, the Canucks placed Virtanen on leave after court documents showing sexual assault allegations against him surfaced. Vancouver bought him out of the final season of his contract two months later.
Virtanen would continue his career overseas while his legal matters were pending, playing the 2021-22 campaign with the KHL’s Spartak Moscow. He was officially charged with sexual assault in January 2022 before a jury cleared him in late July.
A professional tryout with the Edmonton Oilers before the 2022-23 season proved unsuccessful. Given the winger’s inconsistent production overseas, that may have been his last time donning an NHL uniform.
Before getting bought out, Virtanen recorded just five goals (and no assists) in 38 games with Vancouver in 2020-21. He’ll try to help Fischtown, who finished eighth last season, avoid slipping to the bottom of the DEL and being relegated to the DEL2 for the first time since 2016.