The Vancouver Canucks have avoided arbitration with Jake Virtanen.
The Abbotsford native has signed a two-year deal, worth $2.55 million per season, the Canucks announced. A restricted free agent, Virtanen had an arbitration hearing scheduled for next week, and would have had an interesting case to make after scoring 18 goals in 69 games.
“Jake has continued to make progress on his two-way game and remains a contributor offensively, using his speed and size to generate chances,” said Canucks GM Jim Benning. “We look forward to him taking additional steps in his growth this year to help our team be successful.”
The 24-year-old winger set career highs in goals (18), assists (18), and points (36) despite the pandemic-shortened season. Still, Virtanen had trouble gaining the confidence of head coach Travis Green, who made him a healthy scratch to start the postseason. Virtanen was largely a disappointment in the playoffs, scoring just two goals and one assist.
With Virtanen signed, the Canucks now sit about $1.5 million over the salary cap according to CapFriendly.com. They’ll have an opportunity to use a buyout, possibly on Brandon Sutter, if they want to. A second buyout window, open for 48 hours, begins in three days.