The Calgary Flames have announced the defenceman Juuso Valimaki will be out indefinitely after tearing his ACL while training over the weekend. The injury will require the young Flames defenceman to undergo surgery on his right knee.
#Flames defenceman Juuso Valimaki has sustained an ACL injury during his off-season training. https://t.co/6uUPzZGSLK
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) August 12, 2019
Calgary Flames Juuso Valimaki Tears ACL in Training
Regarding the injury, Flames general manager Brad Treliving said; “It’s terrible news. It’s terrible news for Juuso, and certainly, unfortunate news for our club. He’s a really good young player who we expected to take a big step and move forward this year. It’s tough. I feel horrible for him. He’s had a terrific summer in terms of preparing. He was really taking some big steps forward and was excited about making an impact on our team this year.”
Valimaki made his NHL debut last season posting one goal and two assists in 24 games. He also recorded an assist in two playoff games.
Valimaki was originally drafted by the Flames in the first round, 16th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
What This Means for the Future
This is a massive blow to the Flames defence group as Valimaki is their top prospect and was expected to take on a bigger role this coming season. Valimaki is an exceptional puck mover with the ability to quarterback the powerplay which would be of use to the Flames as they finished in the bottom half of the league last season.
With Valimaki out, GM Brad Treliving states his club will be in the market for some help on the left side of their blue line. The Flames do not have a ton of cap space left, however, and still have to re-sign Matthew Tkachuk who will basically eat up the remaining cap.
One name that could be intriguing to the Flames is former Flames defenceman, Dion Phaneuf. Phaneuf was bought out by the Los Angeles Kings earlier in the off-season. He could bring a veteran presence and leadership to the Flames young defence group. He also would not break the bank.
Phaneuf is certainly capable of filling in in a bottom-pairing role and would alleviate some of the pressure off of Oliver Kylington and eventually Juuso Valimaki as the season goes on. With over half the defence 22 or under and the team rumoured to be shopping T.J. Brodie, Phaneuf would certainly prove valuable to the club down the stretch.
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 03: Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks skates with the puck past Juuso Valimaki #8 of the Calgary Flames during the third period of a game at Honda Center on April 03, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)