Recovery from shoulder surgery may have kept Jake Virtanen away from the fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine but not out of the interview rooms.
The skilled winger talked to 24 teams at the Combine.
“It was quite a busy week but meeting a lot of new teams and guys I haven’t met before was a lot of fun,” he said.
Included in that list of 24 teams was the Edmonton Oilers who spent some time speaking with the forward, who just completed a 71-point season (45-26-71) with the Calgary Hitmen.
“It was good. There was quite a few guys in there. There were guys I haven’t met before and some I knew that I’ve talked to before so it was a good time in there.”
Virtanen had a solid showing at the world Under-18 championships in Finland where he led Canada in scoring with six points (3-3-6) in seven games.
“Going overseas and putting on the Canadian jersey was an honour and I had a great time over there,” Virtanen said. “Not getting a gold medal hurt but I think the bronze medal was great and I had a great time over there.”
Virtanen is an intriguing prospect for teams not scared off by his shoulder surgery (he is expected to miss 4-6 months). He is an excellent skater who finished with the highest overall grade in the on-ice testing at the CHL Top Prospects game.
He models his game after Rick Nash in New York and Ryan Getzlaf in Anaheim.
“Those two are obviously some great players to model my game after. They’re both big guys and they like to take pucks to the gritty areas. They’re great leaders on their teams and I like to consider myself a leader. They’re great guys and I think they’re great players as well.”
Virtanen is NHL Central Scouting’s sixth-ranked North American skater.