Former Canuck Jake Virtanen released from PTO with Edmonton

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 26: Jake Virtanen #19 of the Edmonton Oilers skates during the first period against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena on September 26, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 26: Jake Virtanen #19 of the Edmonton Oilers skates during the first period against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena on September 26, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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Well, it looks like the Vancouver Canucks aren’t the only team that doesn’t want anything to do with Jake Virtanen, either.

On Thursday afternoon, the Edmonton Oilers took to Twitter, announcing that they had released the 26-year-old forward from him professional tryout agreement.

Virtanen, who inked the PTO back in mid September, was quite lacklustre during his preseason stints with the Oilers, only registering two assists and six shots in six games.

A former sixth overall pick back in 2014, Virtanen was looking to solidify a return to the NHL after being away from the league for over a year.

Virtanen was placed on leave by the Canucks on May 1st, 2021, after he was accused of sexual misconduct from an incident back in September 2017. Virtanen was officially charged with one count of sexual assault in January, but was ruled not guilty this past summer.

Virtanen was wrapping up the first season of his two-year, $5.1 million contract before being placed on a leave of absence, and was eventually bought out by the Canucks a few months later.

The buyout only incurred a $50,000 cap hit for the 2021-22 campaign, but will increase to $500,000 for the upcoming season, joining netminder Braden Holtby, who will cost the organization a whopping $1.9 million on the books.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the Canucks and Virtanen ever since being drafted by the club almost a decade ago.

In 317 games, Virtanen only registered 55 goals, 45 assists and 219 PIM.

His most successful season came back in 2019-20, where he notched 18 goals and 18 assists in 69 games, including nine powerplay points and six game-winning goals, but that production dropped drastically the following year.

Virtanen only managed to score five goals in 38 games in his final season with the Canucks, with the production inconsistencies leading him to the press box on several occasions.

To make matters worse, former General Manager Jim Benning selected the forward ahead of players like William Nylander, Nikolaj Ehlers and Kevin Fiala, all of whom have proven that they can score and compete in the NHL.

Virtanen’s last preseason game occurred on Wednesday night in his hometown of Abbotsford, and the fans made sure to share their displeasure with him.

What are your thoughts on Virtanen being released from his PTO? Let us know in the comments!