Jake Virtanen is returning to the Vancouver Canucks — at least for right now — after a disappointing showing with Team Canada at the world junior hockey championship.
That’s according to a report from The Province newspaper in Vancouver on Saturday:
Virtanen will be reporting back to the Canucks, initially. Whether or not he lasts the rest of the season with the team is a huge question, and it’s one the Canucks will be discussing for the next few days.
The Canucks have set a deadline of Jan. 10 to reach a decision, which is, interestingly, the trade deadline in the WHL.
There are plenty of good reasons for Virtanen to remain a Canuck. You can probably start at the fact that when his WHL season ended last year, he was near 230 pounds, about 15 pounds more than what the Canucks would consider his playing weight should be.
Canada’s tournament came to a disappointing end with a loss to Finland in the quarter-final earlier the same day.
Virtanen had one assist in five games throughout the tournament, but he also took three penalties versus Finland, including two in the same sequence in the third period.
The Canucks selected Virtanen, a potential power forward, sixth overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.
He’s played 19 games for the Canucks as a 19-year-old rookie this season, scoring once with four points. The organization had been hoping that sending Virtanen to the world juniors would help boost his confidence, especially given he was a returning player for Canada.