NHL trade rumors: Bruins were 'checking out' Canucks forward Jake Virtanen

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Nick Goss
·2 min read
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NHL trade rumors: Bruins were 'checking out' Canucks' Jake Virtanen originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Bruins struck gold in the 2014 NHL Draft by selecting right winger David Pastrnak with the 25th pick in the first round. Could they add another player from that draft before the April 12 trade deadline?

The Vancouver Canucks are struggling this year with a 6-10-0 record in the North division. They've lost five consecutive games. One of their most disappointing players has been Jake Virtanen, who they drafted No. 6 overall in 2014.

Virtanen has scored only one goal with zero assists and 19 shots in 12 games this season. He's been a healthy scratch multiple times over the last two weeks. The 24-year-old right winger set career highs with 18 goals, 18 assists and 36 points in 69 games during the 2019-20 campaign.

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Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman wrote in his latest "31 Thoughts" column posted Wednesday that "Boston was checking out Jake Virtanen, but I’m not sure where that stands. The Sharks poked around during the off-season."

Virtanen is signed through next season with a $2.55 million salary cap hit

A change of scenery probably would benefit Virtanen, and the Bruins could use additional scoring depth on the wing. He would likely fill a third or fourth line role if the Bruins acquired him.

However, adding Virtanen would not be a significant enough upgrade to justify giving up some of the trade assets Boston possesses. The Bruins would be better off giving Anders Bjork, prospect Jack Studnicka and other forwards more chances to earn a consistent NHL role this season.

If the Bruins are going to give up quality trade assets -- and the team doesn't have many -- it should be for a top-four defenseman. The Bruins' young defensemen have played better than expected following the offseason departures of veterans Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug. That said, adding experience to the blue line should still be a priority for general manager Don Sweeney before the trade deadline.

Virtanen is an intriguing talent, but the Bruins can and should aim higher when looking for upgrades ahead of the playoff push.