As more teams begin to enter their respective offseasons, more players are becoming available via trade.
The rebuilding Ottawa Senators will not be a major player surrounding many of the top names entering the trade market, (although they have been loosely tied to Matt Murray and the Pittsburgh Penguins) but there are some nice low risk/high reward options that Pierre Dorion should take into consideration this offseason.
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Jim Benning just completed his first offseason media appearance after his young, Vancouver Canucks squad was finally bounced in game 7 of the second round by Stanley Cup favourites, The Vegas Golden Knights. The Canucks were overachievers in their most recent playoff run and Benning was very upfront concerning his thoughts about his players moving forward. One player that Benning and the Canucks are not pleased with is Jake Virtanen. The Canucks will almost certainly move on from their 2014, 6th overall pick and I don’t expect the phone to be blowing up when it comes to the 24-year-old, right-winger. The price might just be low enough for Ottawa to consider giving Virtanen a fresh start and an increased role. Virtanen fell out of flavour with Canucks head coach, Travis Green, especially in the playoffs, averaging just over 11 minutes of ice time/game. Despite playing the bulk of this season down the lineup, Virtanen had a relatively productive season, scoring 18 goals and adding 18 helpers for 36 points in 69 games this season.
These aren’t exactly staggering totals but much like Anthony Duclair prior to his trade to Ottawa, Virtanen is a skilled player in need of an increased role. Virtanen, again not unlike Duclair needs to build trust with the coaching staff to earn such an opportunity for himself.
He could certainly be a cheap addition to the Senators, I can’t see him costing more than a mid-late 2nd round pick and it certainly doesn’t help when your GM calls you out personally.
Benning essentially diminished Virtanen’s value with the public act of displeasure during his most recent media appearance.
While I think the low risk/high reward status is a bit of a stretch in this instance, it’s at least a potential medium reward. I’m not sure Virtanen has top 6 potential any longer but could he become a reliable 3rd liner that could move up and down the lineup? Virtanen adds great speed and a decent enough shot but can lack the hockey sense required to produce on a consistent basis. If the price is right, why not?