Virtanen earns NHL spot

Abbotsford native lands permanent spot on Vancouver Canucks

Abbotsford's Jake Virtanen displays his first NHL goal puck after scoring in Tuesday's game against Philadelphia.

Abbotsford's Jake Virtanen displays his first NHL goal puck after scoring in Tuesday's game against Philadelphia.

Jake Virtanen is sticking with the big boys.

The Abbotsford product learned on Sunday that he will not be going back to junior and will suit up for the foreseeable future with the Vancouver Canucks.

During a video meeting on Sunday, several clips of Virtanen and fellow rookie Jared McCann making mistakes were played for the whole team, with head coach Willie Desjardins criticizing some of their play.

Following the videos, teammates Alex Burrows and Bo Horvat questioned their ability in front of the whole team. A few awkward minutes later, Horvat stood and welcomed the pair of rookies to the club, ending the ribbing of the duo.

“What a great day! Best day of my life!,” Virtanen tweeted on Sunday.

The week got even better for Virtanen on Tuesday, when he recorded the first goal of his NHL career. He scored at 8:28 of the third period in the team’s 4-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers. He was also named the game’s first star.

Virtanen has played nine games with the Canucks this season, recording one goal, two assists, four penalty minutes and 15 shots.

He will now earn a base salary of $832,500 with the Canucks. Virtanen and the Canucks play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday and then the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

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