Vancouver Canucks World Juniors Update: Virtanen Rises, Jasek Falls


Vancouver Canucks fans will have one less prospect to cheer for at the 2016 World Juniors, as Lukas Jasek gets cut from the Czech World Juniors team. Jake Virtanen, though, is lighting it up.

As the final cuts are made and the pre-tournament games dwindle down to their last stretches, there are only two Vancouver Canucks prospects left at the World Junior Championships.

Lukas Jasek, an 18-year-old Czech who was drafted this past summer by Canucks GM Jim Benning in the late sixth round. Praised by many as a great pick-up late in the draft, the undersized centreman will have to wait another year if he wants to represent his country. So far this season, the hype around Jasek seems to be dying out, mainly driven about his two points in 14 games as part of the HC Trinec.

But as an 18-year-old playing in the top Czech hockey league, a steep learning curve should not be too much of a concern for Canucks fans. After all, usually left out of his stat line is the fact that earlier this season at the Czech U20 level, Jasek had 16 points in six games. He is still a great pick at the sixth round, if you ask me.

Brock Boeser made the final cut for Team USA, who will face Jake Virtanen and Team Canada first thing on Boxing Day.

Speaking of Jake Virtanen, here is what Virtanen’s teammate Brandon Prust had to say. Prust sure is a great team guy, so I am hoping he stays longer with the Canucks. Look at how many retweets he is getting on Twitter, and you know that he is making himself a fan favourite.

Jake Virtanen‘s play thus far in the pre-tournament has lived up to the hype. If there was any worry that Virtanen might not be able to handle all the attention he garnered as he was sent overseas by the Canucks, he surely is not getting bogged down with it.

In three games for Team Canada so far, Virtanen has three goals and no assists, among leaders for the red-and-white, who are looking to repeat from last year’s championship.

That second goal — first goal against Team Sweden — is the prettiest one thus far. On the other two goals, you can see that Virtanen is starting to attack the net, which was one of his strengths getting drafted into the NHL.

As the tournament heats up to the Boxing Day match-up featuring Canada vs. USA, Virtanen is showing that he is still elite, while Brock Boeser is trying to settle in with Team USA. The NCAA North Dakota top rookie has yet to register a point in the pre-tournament action.

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Hopefully, Virtanen continues his scoring prowess and shows the NHL that he can be a top-notch power forward. While Jared McCann sticks to his duty with the Vancouver Canucks, Canucks fans can pray that Jake and Brock can step up in Jasek’s absense.