In an entirely predictable move, former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen has signed a one-year deal in the KHL. He’ll suit up for Spartak Moscow this season after being bought out by the Canucks in July.
Virtanen, 25, played his way out of the Canucks future by disappointing over and over, but that’s not the reason he now has to settle for a deal overseas. Earlier this summer, a civil lawsuit was filed in Kelowna, British Columbia, alleging Virtanen sexually assaulted a woman in 2017. On May 1, the Canucks placed Virtanen on leave from the team, releasing this statement:
We have become aware of the concerning allegations made about Jake Virtanen. Our organization does not accept sexual misconduct of any kind and the claims as reported are being treated very seriously by us.
We have engaged external expertise to assist in an independent investigation and we have placed the player on leave as we await more information.
Though the results of that investigation have still not been publicly released, it is obvious that his off-ice issues are a huge part of him failing to sign on with another NHL team. The young forward was the sixth overall selection in 2014 and reached a career-high of 18 goals and 36 points in 2019-20, but has been one of the most inconsistent players in the league since entering it six years ago.
In 317 games, Virtanen compiled 55 goals and 100 points.