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Wake With Elias: Is Jake Virtanen KHL-bound?

That’s a few kilometres away from Abbotsford.

NHL: APR 28 Canucks at Senators
Vancouver Canucks Right Wing Jake Virtanen (18) during warm-up before National Hockey League action between the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators on April 28, 2021, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The end of August used to mean that NHL training camps were right around the corner. Now, that’s just a distant, pre-COVID memory.

We’re still a couple of weeks out from the Canucks officially starting training camp. In the meantime, here are some headlines to quench your hockey thirst.

Is Jake Virtanen KHL-bound?

To Russia, without love.

Former Canucks’ winger Jake Virtanen has yet to find employment after the club bought out the final year of his contract in late July. The Carolina Hurricanes were once reported to be interested in his services, but that report was later shot down.

Now, a recent report from Sport24 in Russia states that Virtanen has received a contract offer in the KHL.

The translated report says that SKA St. Petersburg would pay Virtanen 60 million rubles which is equivalent to $817,200 USD.

Although a significant downgrade in pay, that’s a decent offer for Virtanen, who was a shell of his best self last season.

The former first-round pick is still battling a civil suit after a woman claimed that she was sexually assaulted by Virtanen back in 2017. The woman remains nameless and the charges have yet to be proven in court.

You have to wonder, how would it look for Virtanen if he bolted to Russia in the middle of legal proceedings? Food for thought as the 25-year-old ponders his hockey future and this reported contract offer.

Vegas Golden Knights v Vancouver Canucks - Game Four
Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Vancouver Canucks reacts after allowing a goal to Nate Schmidt (not pictured) as Alex Tuch #89 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates during the third period in Game Four of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 30, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This time last year...

Although there’s a delay on the beginning of training camps compared to normal years, last year was even wackier, with the Canucks embattled in the midst of their second-round series against Vegas.

It’s now been one year to the day (August 30th) since Jacob Markstrom played a game for the Canucks. Markstrom lost Game Four, and never returned due to a groin injury. That opened the door for Thatcher Demko to play three of the best games ever seen by a Canucks goaltender.

All of this transpired during isolated bubble playoffs early in September. What a world.

In other Canucks news

  • Tyler Motte just proposed to his longtime girlfriend, becoming the second Canuck over the past month (along with Demko) to propose to their partner. [Daily Hive]
  • This just in: Brock Boeser is still a beauty. [Vancouver is Awesome]
  • This former Canuck is listing his Yaletown penthouse for $7 million dollars. [Georgia Straight]
  • The Canucks continue their work in the mental health community, a decade after the loss of Rick Rypien. [The Province]
  • Finally, where does Travis Green fit on the “hot seat” power rankings? [NHL on NBC]