The recent play of Jake Virtanen has him riding shotgun on the top line in place of Brock Boeser. Can Virtanen finish the season with more goals than Boeser?
Jake Virtanen is a hot topic for the Vancouver Canucks right now. Shotgun Jake scored another beautiful goal on Wednesday night in a 5-2 triumph of the San Jose Sharks. His 15th tally of the year was a power play goal, an absolute laser from the top where he managed to pull the puck around the defender in tight and wrist it home. It gave Vancouver their first lead of the game and it held on until the final buzzer to be the game-winning goal.
It took a while, but Virtanen is finally becoming the player he was expected to be. A handful of games have passed with him on the second unit power play, where he looks to be one of the line’s main contributors. The goals were coming fast, his overall game improving and it was enough for head coach Travis Green to give him a look on the Canucks’ top line.
His play, once he got there, has been his career-best. The chemistry is forming more and more as each game passes. He uses his blazing speed on the rush to get in deep, but he’s also a big body player that can keep an eye out for his centerman, Elias Pettersson. He looks to be learning from J.T. Miller’s game. They play a similar crash and bang style, get a little pesty, but can back it up when they go bar down in a blink of an eye.
Virtanen is taking full advantage of where he is in the lineup, while Brock Boeser, even though he’s having a career year, is actually struggling to score goals. With how much success the team is having because of the switch, Virtanen might be a long term lock on the top line. Not to mention, he’s earned it, and it’s now his position to lose. It’s entirely possible that he surpasses Boeser in goals by season’s end.
So who is the most valuable player to slot in alongside Pettersson and Miller? Right now, hands down it’s Virtanen. He’s trending up, while Boeser’s blade has cooled off some. So, move over “Lotto line”, the time has come for Virtanen and the “MVP line”.