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Oilers Sign Virtanen To PTO

September 19, 2022, 4:12 PM ET [13 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Late last week, it was reported that Jason Demers was going to sign a PTO with the Edmonton Oilers. Today that has been officially confirmed by the team, as well as forward Jake Virtanen. Virtanen last played in the NHL in 20/21 where he appeared in 38 games with the Canucks, averaging roughly 12 minutes a night and scoring 5 goals and no assists. In those 38 games the forward registered 83 hits.

Virtanen has been surrounded by controversy over the past few years; most notably a sexual assault case that he was found not-guilty of, though a civil case is still ongoing as well. Virtanen was also released by his KHL team due to a "breach of contract" that was not specified.

The general public does not know the details of any of these cases. Sexual assault cases are a serious matter and history has shown that they are not kind to the victims as being able to show proof is difficult when many times the incident occurred year before, and the victim finally has courage to try and come forward. We do not know all of the facts either way.

As a player there are big question marks as to what Virtanen could bring to the Edmonton Oilers. While he was in the NHL prior, he was a streaky player that was prone to massive hot and cold streaks. There were times where he looked like a rugged top six forward and other times he would look wildly out of place and a defensive liability. If he was to play in Edmonton, it would likely be in a bottom six, most likely fourth line role.

Originally it was believed that Virtanen would not be signing in Edmonton, and looking at the signs I would guess he was going to sign a PTO in Calgary until the Flames were able to bring in Sonny Milano on a PTO instead. Milano had 14 goals and 34 points in 66 games last season with the Ducks. If Edmonton was looking for a bottom six winger that was capable of contributing, Milano was a far better bet than Virtanen.

Virtanen is just a PTO so there is a chance that two weeks from now he will not be a part of the team however optics matter and this is something that will cause many to raise an eyebrow at the Oilers organization. With all of the information that has come out about Hockey Canada and the growing number of sexual assault cases that are coming forward, having Virtanen skating with the team is at best a distraction and at worst something far worse. I will be curious to see what Ken Holland says at his next media availability.

There could be plenty more news breaking regarding the Oilers this week so be sure to keep up to date here for more information.
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