2010-11: Jake Virtanen scored a goal and an assist in his only game with the Yale Secondary Lions high school team in British Columbia and played for the Abbotsford Hawks bantam team. He was the first overall selection in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft by the Calgary Hitmen.
2011-12: Virtanen made his WHL debut — skating in nine regular season games and four playoff contests with Calgary — and was the third leading scorer for the Fraser Valley Bruins in the B.C. midget major hockey league. He scored 3 goals with 1 assist and was +3 with 4 penalty minutes in the regular season with the Hitmen. Calgary lost to Brandon in a first round series after finishing second to WHL champion Edmonton in the Central Division. Virtanen had no points and was -4 with 4 penalty minutes in the five game series against the Wheat Kings. In 39 games with Fraser Valley he scored 17 goals with 22 assists and a team-high 120 penalty minutes. Virtanen was the leading scorer for third-place Team British Columbia with five goals in four games at the 2011 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup.
2012-13: Virtanen skated in 62 games for Calgary as a 16-year-old in his first full WHL season and represented Canada Pacific in the 2013 U17 World Hockey Challenge. He scored 16 goals with 18 assists and was +25 with 67 penalty minutes for the Hitmen. Calgary finished second in the Midwest Division and lost to first-place Edmonton in the East Conference Finals. Virtanen scored 2 goals with 4 assists and was -2 with 27 penalty minutes in 15 playoff games. He scored 5 goals with 2 assists and had 8 penalty minutes in five games for Canada Pacific.
2013-14: Virtanen won a gold medal playing for Canada’s U18 team at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August before returning to Calgary for his second WHL season. He finished the year playing for Canada in the 2014 U18 World Juniors in Finland. Virtanen scored 45 goals with 26 assists and was +23 with 100 points in 71 regular season games for the Hitmen. Tied with eventual Memorial Cup champion Edmonton Oil Kings with 103 points in the regular season, the Hitmen finished first in the Central Division based on more wins before Kootenay defeated Calgary in a six-game first round playoff series. Virtanen scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was -2 with 4 penalty minutes in six playoff games. He had 1 assist and was -2 with 4 penalty minutes in five games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. In seven games at the U18 WJC he scored 3 goals with 3 assists and was +2 with 10 penalty minutes despite a nagging shoulder injury that required off-season surgery. Virtanen was ranked sixth amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Vancouver in the first round (sixth overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
2014-15: Virtanen signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Canucks in July 2014. After successful shoulder surgery in the offseason he attended his first training camp with the Canucks before being returned to Calgary to skate for the Hitmen. His production slipped from 45 goals in 2013-14 to only 21 in his third full season of junior. He was chosen to represent the WHL All Stars in the 2014 Subway Super Series. In two games vs. the Russian Junior Selects the WHL All Stars lost both and Virtanen netted one goal. Virtanen was a major contributor to Canada’s Gold Medal win at the 2015 World Junior Tournament. His physical prowess was on full display and a highlight reel exists of the crushing hits he delivered throughout the tournament. The Hitmen had a strong playoff run before falling to the Oil Kings in the third round of the WHL playoffs. On May 5, 2015, Virtanen was assigned from Calgary to the AHL’s Utica Comets. He had 1 assist and was +2 with 6 penalty minutes in 10 playoff games for the Comets, who reached the Calder Cup finals before falling to Manchester.
2015-16: Virtanen skated in 55 games for the Canucks as a 19-year-old and played for Canada in the 2017 World Junior Championship. Missing time early in the year due to an upper-body injury and then receiving a two-game suspension for an illegal hit in March, he scored 7 goals with 6 assists and was -7 with 45 penalty minutes. averaging 11:33 minutes of ice time. Virtanen played two games with AHL affiliate Utica, with no points nor penalties. In five games for Canada at the WJC he had 1 assist and an even plus/minus with 10 penalty minutes. Canada finished sixth, falling to host and eventual champion Finland, 6-5, in the quarterfinals.
Virtanen is a complete power forward. He shoots the puck hard and is strong along the boards. His key asset is his great acceleration and speed. Virtanen moves well laterally without gearing down. He can be relied upon in all situations and has a heavy physical presence to his game.
Virtanen spent the 2015-16 season with the Canucks as a 19-year-old rather than returning to the WHL and played for Canada in the 2016 World Juniors. Playing limited minutes in his first pro season, he showed a physical edge to his game while chipping in with 13 points in 55 games. Virtanen is expected to be a power forward with some scoring ability as he adapts to the increased tempo and sophisticated tactical play in the NHL.