Ex-Canuck Jake Virtanen leaves NHL to sign with Russian team

Sep 7 2021, 5:06 pm

Jake Virtanen has officially left the NHL.

The 25-year-old from Abbotsford is KHL-bound, signing a one-year contract with Spartak Moscow in Russia.

Virtanen had been in the Russian rumour mill last week, with separate reports stating that he had been offered a contract by SKA St. Petersburg and actually signed by HC Lokomotiv.

The former first-round pick became a free agent after he was bought out of his contract by the Vancouver Canucks last month. He was due to make $3.4 million in the NHL next season, but instead he’ll receive just one-third of his $3 million base salary.

Terms of Virtanen’s deal with Spartak haven’t been released, though he was reportedly offered an $816,000 USD deal by SKA. Virtanen will play with Elias Pettersson’s older brother Emil in Moscow, as well as former Canucks draft pick Sergei Shirokov.

The KHL regular season began last week, while the puck drops on NHL preseason games on September 25.

Virtanen never played another game for the Canucks after he was placed on leave May 1, following sexual misconduct allegations.

“Our organization does not accept sexual misconduct of any kind, and the claims as reported are being treated very seriously by us,” the Canucks said in a media release at the time.

An investigation by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has been launched, and a lawsuit was filed against Virtanen by a woman in civil court. Virtanen denies the allegations against him.

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