Jake Virtanen Returning to NHL, Not Juniors

Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning said on Saturday following Team Canada’s disappoint quarter-final loss to Team Finland at the 2016 World Junior Championship, that Jake Virtanen will be returning to the Canucks and not to his junior team, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon.

There was little doubt that the Canucks would bring him back after hedging on whether or not to send him in the first place. He was in part sent as a conditioning stint after an injury that kept him out of Vancouver’s lineup right up until Team Canada’s selection camp.

Virtanen didn’t dominate in Canada’s games as much as might have been expected. He was a physical force and was noticeable, but at times — like in Saturday’s loss to Team Finland — for the wrong reasons. He was mucking it up and not contributing enough offensively to get the team going and taking penalties that were costly to Canada.

Virtanen finished the tournament with no goals and one assist, a step back from the one goal and three assists he put up in seven games last year when he was a part of Canada’s gold medal-winning squad. He also had 10 penalty minutes and 10 shots in their five games this year.

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