Rookies Virtanen, McCann will stick with Canucks

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The Vancouver Canucks feature two of the 10 youngest skaters in the NHL and they’ve decided to keep both of them for the rest of the season.

They made that official with an announcement today that 19-year-old forwards Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann won’t be returned to their respective junior teams.

Vancouver had to make a decision soon because they’re both approaching the 10 games played mark and once they reach that milestone, this will count towards the first campaign of their entry-level contracts.

Virtanen has been used sparingly so far, but he has the potential to develop into a great power forward as well as a fan favorite given his British Columbia roots. Vancouver took him with the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and he followed that up with a campaign where he recorded 21 goals, 52 points, and 82 penalty minutes in 50 contests with WHL Calgary.

McCann was also taken in the first round of the 2014 draft (24th overall). While his playing time has been limited as well, he’s made a big impact with five goals in nine contests. Vancouver acquired the pick used to take him in the Ryan Kesler trade with Anaheim and while this obviously has to be taken with a grain of salt, McCann currently has just one less goal than all of the Ducks’ forwards combined.

It will be interesting to see if Virtanen and McCann’s roles grow as the season progresses. If nothing else they are a big part of the group that represents the Canucks’ hopes for the future, especially given the team’s aging core.

Related: Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado