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Winnipeg Jets Top 25 Under 25: #23 Santeri Virtanen

What does a second pro sesson have in store for the young Finn?

USA v Finland: Gold Medal Game - 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship
Santeri Virtanen #22 of Finland celebrates with the championship trophy following a gold medal game victory against the United States at the IIHF World Junior Championships at Rogers Arena on January 5, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images

Winnipeg Jets Top 25 Under 25 -
#23 - Santeri Virtanen
6’2” 203 lbs - Centre - Shoots Left
SM-Liiga 2018-2019 Season: 40 GP - 5G - 5A - 10PTS - 8PIM

It was a year of new experiences for Santeri Virtanen in 2018-19. He played his first pro season with SaiPa in the Finnish elite league after having spent the previous season in th USHL. He also took part in the World Junior Hockey Championships, winning gold with his U20 Finnish team, contributing three points in seven games.

It was the second year in a row that the Winnipeg Jets’ 4th round pick in 2017 helped his country win a medal, having done so in 2016-17 with the silver medal winning U18 squad.

According to Jamie Zadow of DobberProspects.com, Virtanen needs to work on his skating, while his offensive numbers will also need to rise if he has any chance of an NHL job down the road.

Virtanen will once again play for SaiPa this season, who finished 9th in the Liiga last season and were knocked out in the wildcard round of the playoffs. SaiPa’s leading scorer from last season, Tyler Morley, departed for Tappara in the off-season, so there may be opportunity for Virtanen to move up the team’s depth chart.

While not under contract, the Jets still have another couple of years before they have to make an investment decision, and how Virtanen plays this year will have a major impact on just what that decision may be.