The Canes have the No. 7 selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, which begins Friday. Each day this week, CanesNow will take a look at a potential pick.
Today: Jake Virtanen.
Jake Virtanen scored 45 goals and had 71 points this past season for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, and goes into the draft ranked sixth among North American skaters by Central Scouting.
Virtanen has good size at 6 feet and 208 pounds and knows how to use it. The winger from Abbotsford helped Canada win the gold medal in the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and competed well for Canada in the 2014 Under-18 World Championship in Finland.
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Tony MacDonald, the Canes' director of amateur scouting, called Virtanen the "prototypical power forward."
"He's a big man who can skate," MacDonald said. "He's an NHL skater and he's got an NHL shot. This guy can really shoot the puck. He's a shoot-first, ask-questions-later kind of player.
"He can use his speed to go around bigger guys or he might go over the top of you. He's a physical guy."
MacDonald also noted Virtanen, who models his game after Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks, had 100 penalty minutes, an indication of his physicality.
Virtanen, a right-handed shooter, was ninth in the midterm Central Scouting rankings but has bumped up the board. He’s trending well, as they say, at the right time.
"In terms of size, speed and skills, he has it," MacDonald said. "He's probably as close as anyone to being able to play in the NHL from a physical standpoint."