The Vancouver Canucks have a logjam at forward after a busy summer, with general manager Jim Benning adding another veteran in Thomas Vanek. The Canucks currently have 15 forwards under contract, and that isn’t including Jake Virtanen or Nikolay Goldobin, who are among the prospects in Vancouver’s system and looking to make the roster full-time. Given the numbers, that promises to be an uphill battle in training camp, which means it’s possible they spend time in the minors this season. The Benning-Trevor Linden regime enters its fourth season leading the Canucks. Virtanen is the group’s first-ever draft pick, going sixth overall in 2014. In 65 NHL games, the 21-year-old right winger has shown potential at times with his speed and ability to be physical as a prospect the Canucks hope to develop into a power forward. But last season, he played in only 10 games with Vancouver, averaging just over 10 minutes a game, and was eventually dispatched to Utica to get more playing time to better develop. Meanwhile, a number of forwards selected after him in that 2014 draft are already making an impact on their respective clubs.
Benning preaches patience with 2014 first-round pick Virtanen
Pro Hockey Talk | Sep 10