Ryan Nugent Hopkins. Quinton Howden. Jared Cowen. Jonathan Toews. Gilbert Brule. Jay Bouwmeester. And now Jake Virtanen.
What do the above seven names have in common? They were all taken first overall in the WHL’s Bantam Draft after the Calgary Hitmen made Virtanen the top choice in the league’s 2011 selection process Thursday.
A member of the Abbotsford Hawks, Virtanen was Kelly Kisio & Co.’s pick after recording 70 goals and 119 points in 62 Bantam AAA games this season. It was the first time in 16 years the club had the draft’s top choice. In 1995, the Hitmen selected Chris Nielsen first overall.
The five-foot-10, 159-pound forward was a natural choice for the Hitmen, who finished last in the league in scoring with just 171 goals. Virtanen could be just what the doctor ordered in Calgary.
“He’s a dynamic offensive player, a tremendous skater who also plays with a physical edge,” Hitmen head scout Brad Whelen told the Calgary Sun.
The 15-year-old isn’t eligible for the NHL Entry Draft until 2014.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!