Canucks Loan Jake Virtanen to Canada for WJC

The Vancouver Canucks announced Sunday evening that they will be loaning 19-year-old power forward Jake Virtanen to Team Canada for the 2016 World Junior Championship.

The news comes amid the first round of cuts from selection camp on Sunday, which included 2014 5th overall draft pick Michael Dal Colle and one of the top prospects for the 2016 entry draft, defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

Talking to TSN’s Dave McCarthy, Virtanen said, “With my experience last year, going to bring the mentality of being a leader on that team & play my power forward type of game.”

Virtanen was on Canada’s roster at the 2015 World Junior Championship, where he scored a goal and three assists through seven games, helping Canada to a gold medal finish. He as a contributor, but hopes to be a leader this year, telling McCarthy, “I want to help the team score a little bit more than last year.”

Virtanen is coming off a hip pointer injury that had him on a conditioning stint with the Utica Comets of the AHL. The announcement was made following a 5-4 Comets win over Jonathan Bernier and the Toronto Marlies. Virtanen didn’t have any points during the game, but contributed a pair of shots.

On the season, Virtanen has put up a goal and three assists for the Canucks through 19 games.

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