After being a late cut in training camp with Edmonton, Jake Virtanen was hoping to catch on elsewhere in the NHL. That didn’t materialize and he has now found his new home as EHC Visp of the Swiss second division announced that they’ve signed the winger to a two-year contract.
The 26-year-old was a first-round pick of Vancouver (sixth overall) back in 2014 with the hopes that he’d become an impactful power forward. However, he struggled to produce with consistency over his six NHL seasons (spanning 317 games) and ultimately was bought out of the final year of his contract with the Canucks in 2021 after a particularly tough year (five goals in 38 contests) at the same time that allegations of sexual assault came to light, charges he was later found not guilty of.
Last season, Virtanen went to the KHL in the hopes that a big role overseas could help propel him back into getting another NHL opportunity but he wasn’t overly productive, notching just nine goals and seven assists in 36 games, not the type of production that generated much NHL interest as evidenced by him only getting a handful of PTO offers heading into training camp.
It’s a bit surprising that someone with the NHL experience that Virtanen has ultimately settled for a two-year agreement in a second-tier league overseas. However, the move will give him a bit of stability and a chance to play an impact role as he looks to rediscover his offensive touch in the hopes of getting another opportunity at the NHL level down the road.