Oilers sign former Canucks forward Jake Virtanen to PTO

At Edmonton Oilers practice, PTO signing Jake Virtanen discusses his sexual assault case that went to trial over the summer.

Former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen has signed a professional try-out with the Edmonton Oilers, the team announced Monday.

The Oilers also announced they're signing defenceman Jason Demers to a PTO, something Sportsnet's Mark Spector reported last week.

Virtanen was found not guilty of sexual assault by a jury in Vancouver in July. He last played in the NHL with the Canucks in 2021 before he was placed on leave by the team that May when allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.

Virtanen, 26, played in the KHL with Moscow Spartak last season.

The native of Langley, B.C. wept openly when the not-guilty verdict was read in B.C. Supreme Court in July.

Virtanen was charged in January with sexual assault in connection with an incident in a downtown Vancouver hotel room in September 2017.

Virtanen told the court that the woman who accused him of assault was an "enthusiastic participant" in the encounter. 

The 23-year-old woman, whose identity is covered by a publication ban, testified that she repeatedly said "no" and told Virtanen that she did not want to have sex with him before he pinned her to the hotel bed with his body weight.

While awaiting trial, Virtanen had nine goals and seven assists in 36 games for Spartak last season.

Virtanen has 55 goals and 45 assists in 317 career NHL games, all with the Canucks.

Vancouver selected the Calgary Hitmen product sixth overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.

With files from The Canadian Press

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