Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen is now a member of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga’s (DEL) Fischtown Pinguins.
The former Vancouver Canucks’ first-round draft pick was put on the market by EHC Visp of the Swiss League after he reportedly alienated his teammates with his behaviour.
He recorded 25 points in 21 games for EHC Visp, but reports stated that he got into a fight with Daniel Eigenmann during a game on Jan. 31 and was then no longer wanted on the team. The website swisshockeynews.com reported that EHC Visp has terminated his two-year contract.
Die @FT_Pinguins haben im Endspurt der Hauptrunde Stürmer Jake Virtanen verpflichtet. Der 26-jährige Kanadier absolvierte insgesamt 317 NHL-Spiele für die Vancouver Canucks, bestritt eine Spielzeit in der KHL und wechselt nun aus der schweizer NLB in die Seestadt. #PENNYDEL pic.twitter.com/Pki5EyaMaq
— Deutsche Eishockey Liga (@DELoffiziell) February 14, 2023
The Pinguins confirmed the signing on their website and Virtanen stated that he is pleased to receive another opportunity.
“I’m more than happy that the Pinguins are giving me the chance to show that I’m a decent person and a good hockey player here in the north,” he said. “I will do everything to ensure that the trust placed in me is rewarded.”
Team manager Alfred Prey said that Virtanen knows what needs to be done to be a strong member of the Pinguins.
“We discussed everything with Jacob, articulated our ideas and wishes and are sure that Jake also has a clear goal in mind,” he said. “We always look to the future which one can try to determine, the past is passe.”
The website also pointed out that Virtanen has an option to return to the team for 2023-24. He may be deployed this season for the club.
The Pinguins are located in Bremerhaven, Germany and joined the DEL in 2016-17. The team currently has a record of 25-18-4-1 and are in eighth place in the 15-team DEL. The team’s leading scorer is former Vancouver Canucks sixth round draft pick Alex Friesen, who has 35 points in 48 games. Friesen played three seasons for the Utica Comets and suited up in one game for Vancouver in 2015-16.
The regular season concludes for the Pinguins on March 5.