Winnipeg Jets Add Santeri Virtanen In Round 4

WHT Prospect Profile: Santeri Virtanen

The Winnipeg Jets selected their second Finn of the 2017 NHL Draft in Santeri Virtanen with the 105th pick overall.  Virtanen played last season with TPS U20 of the Junior A SM-liiga.  He was ranked as high as #46 by McKeen’s Hockey.

Name: Santeri Virtanen

Position: Centre

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 195 lbs

Shoots: Left

DOB: May 11, 1999

Born: Kirkkonummi, FIN

Team: TPS U20 (Junior ‘A’ Liiga)

Draft: 4th round, 105th overall

Player Comparison: Jori Lehtera

Santeri Virtanen suffered a serious shoulder injury early in the year, reducing his season to just 5 games.  In those 5 games, Virtanen scored 2 goals and 4 assists. He was -1 with no penalty minutes.  Prior to his injury, Virtanen saw action with Finland’s national U18 squad, scoring a goal and assist in 6 games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament.  Upon returning from injury, Virtanen scored 2 goals and 6 points in 7 games with the second place Finnish team at the U18 WJC.  Virtanen got into 3 playoff games with TPS U20, scoring twice.  He also appeared in the playoffs for TPS U18, picking up 5 assists in 5 games.

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Prior to this past season, Virtanen played in 35 games for TPS U18 in 2015-16. He scored 14 goals and 31 assists for 45 points and picked up 10 penalty minutes.  In 2014-15, Virtanen scored 9 goals and 17 assists in 35 games with TPS U18.

Virtanen stands at 6’2″ and weighs 195 pounds.  He is a talented two-way center and a good skater with decent speed.  He has a better than average wrist shot and a good backhand.  He is also not afraid to go into the dirty areas to score. He passes the puck well, has soft hands, and has a high hockey IQ.  He also excels in the faceoff circle.

Virtanen is a very sound positional player.  He blocks the passing and shooting lanes with both his body and with his stick.  Virtanen is strong on the puck and very physical. His size and strength make it hard for defenders to knock him around. He has been a key penalty killer on Finland’s national junior teams.

Santeri Virtanen may have fallen considerably due to being hurt for the majority of his draft eligible year.  Some pundits had him taken as high as the second round.  The value is there to take the youngster in the fourth round.  He could be a diamond in the rough.  It is very likely that Virtanen will play next year in the Liiga, whether it be with TPS or with another team.  He will be given the chance to develop and grow his game.  Jet fans will just have to be patient and let him develop and see what they have in Santeri Virtanen.

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What did you think of the selection of Santeri Virtanen?  Leave your opinions in the comment section, or tweet me on Twitter, @WHTRiley.  I would love to talk hockey with you.


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