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Report: Oilers have expressed trade interest in Canucks’ Virtanen

Elliotte Friedman drops a bomb! Could the rivals actually hook up on a deal!?

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In case you missed it, the rival Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks put on one Hell of a hockey game at Rogers Arena in Vancouver last night, with the Oilers coming out on top in the shootout 3-2. It was another in a long history of close fought, nasty games between the two Western Canadian franchises and it’s clear that the teams have a real distaste for each other. Which, of course, would explain their lack of trade history.

The Oilers and Canucks have hooked up on just two trades in the past decade, both of them minor, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the two sides discussed a potential deal for Canucks forward Jake Virtanen at some point in recent history. On the latest 31 Thoughts podcast released earlier today, Friedman confirms that the Oilers had interest in Virtanen, but that ultimately the two sides couldn’t come to terms on a deal.

Check it out:

“One of the guys I heard that Edmonton had some interest in, and I don’t think this was very recent but awhile ago, was Jake Virtanen from Vancouver.”

In discussing prospect project Jesse Puljujarvi and his future with the Oilers, Friedman compared the young Finn to Virtanen, whom the Canucks also played the patient game with and are now finally reaping the rewards.

“A year ago you might have looked at Jake Virtanen and went ‘Nope’, but now you’re looking at Jake Virtanen and you see a path. You see an effective player and a guy who can play in your top nine in the NHL. I’ve gotta think that there’s people in Edmonton saying ‘Why can’t Puljujarvi be the same way?’”

Interesting. 

The thing is… sure Virtanen is now an effective player and he’s still continuing his development, after all he’s just 22 years old, bigger things are expected of Puljujarvi. You have to imagine that the Oilers see a higher ceiling than “top nine forward” for Puljujarvi… but then again, with this management team who knows?