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Oilers Sign Demers, Virtanen to PTOs

The Edmonton Oilers have signed defenseman Jason Demers and forward Jake Virtanen to professional tryout offers with an invitation to training camp.
Jason Demers

The 2022-23 season is drawing closer on the horizon, and teams across the NHL are doing some last-minute tinkering before they officially open. 

The Edmonton Oilers were the latest team to send out some camp invites on Monday. The club signed defenseman Jason Demers and forward Jake Virtanen to professional tryout offers with an invitation to attend training camp. 

Demers last suited up for the Arizona Coyotes, taking part in 41 games for the club during the COVID-shortened 2021 season and finishing with zero goals and four assists for four points while averaging 17:14 in nightly ice time. 

Unable to secure an NHL contract last season, Demers embarked upon a brief stint in the KHL, suiting up for five games with Ak-Bars Kazan, where he registered one assist and four penalty minutes. Demers also earned a spot on Team Canada's Olympic team, as well. In five games representing Canada in Beijing, Demers chipped in two assists and finished as a plus-seven before the team ultimately bowed out before the medal round. 

On the other hand, Virtanen has had a much rockier time away from the NHL. 

The former Vancouver Canucks forward was charged with sexual assault in May of 2021 and ultimately bought out by the Canucks shortly thereafter, heading to the KHL for the 2021-22 season to Spartak Moscow. In 36 games for the club, Virtanen posted a disappointing nine goals and seven assists for 16 points before being released by the club in March of 2022. 

In July, a British Columbia jury found Virtanen not guilty of the charges filed against him. 

On the ice, Virtanen has failed to prove at every single juncture of his professional hockey career that he's a consistent performer, topping out at a mere 18 goals and 36 points in a single season during his time in the NHL despite being a top-10 draft pick. Even when he ventured overseas last season, Virtanen's competitive limitations remained clear, with the 25-year-old being unable to produce any notable offense even when playing against KHL competition and was eventually cut loose by his club in the middle of the season. 

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