Team: Tappara U20
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 194
UPDATE: JULY 11, 2021
Virolainen is a strong center who works well below the dots in the offensive zone. He has good vision and can create offense from below the goal line. He’s a playmaker with good touch on his passes, and because of his mixture of skill and strength, it is not easy to take the puck away from him. He shows dexterity in small spaces and good puck control. Will go to the net with regularity and battle for positioning. He won almost 60 percentage of his face-offs in the U20 SM-sarja this past season and will have a chance to be at least in the 50-percent range at the pro level. He still lacks in acceleration and pace and his foot speed must improve. The lack of improvement in his skating has been an issue and he might be a long shot to be selected in the NHL Draft this month. If he goes undrafted, I think teams will continue to monitor his development to see if he has the pace and skating prowess to develop into an NHL player down the road.
REPORT: RUSSIA @ FINLAND U17, AUGUST 11, 2019
Virolainen centered the fourth line for the Finnish U17 national team in the final game of a three-game set against Russia. He is a sizeable playmaker with good reach, stick skills and puck control. He valued possession, passed the puck in a timely manner and used his teammates effectively for passing options. He won seven of his nine face-offs. What Virolainen lacked in quickness he made up for with his smarts. His acceleration and mobility need quite a bit of work and his first few strides are a tad heavy. However, I like his vision and offensive instincts. He clearly understands the game both with and without the puck.
REPORT: TAPPARA @ HPK U18, JANUARY 19, 2019
Virolainen played a strong, dependable two-way game as the second-line center for Tappara U18 in a 5-4 overtime win. The first goal of the game was set up by Virolainen, who backchecked well, stole the puck away and passed it to Verneri Ahonen, who was alone in front of the net. He used his stick well to disrupt opponents on other occasions as well. His stickhandling was above-average and he controlled the puck well along the boards. At this point in time, it is clear that Virolainen needs to work on his skating; however, he got to the right spots to defend and read the play well.
Cover photo: Leijonat.fi