#6 - Juuso Valimaki
Team: Calgary Flames (NHL), Stockton Heat (AHL)
Drafted in 2017, Round 1, Pick #16
Last Year’s Ranking: #9
When the Flames drafted Juuso Valimaki with the 16th pick of the 2017 draft, they were hoping that they were drafting a player who would become a core defender of the team long into the future. Two summers later, it looks like Valimaki is on the verge of becoming just that. He broke onto the Flames straight from junior, not something that occurs regularly in today’s NHL.
Valimaki dressed for 22 games with the Flames between October 3 and November 23, picking up a goal and an assist. His ice time ranged from 11 minutes through to nearly 20 minutes, increasing as he gained experience. He suffered an ankle injury on November 23 that kept out of the lineup for a significant period of time.
Upon his return the Flames sent him to Stockton for conditioning where he’d end up dressing for 20 games and putting up 14 points while getting an increased role on the team. He return to Calgary near the end of the regular season, dressing for two more games before making his playoff debut in Game 4 against Colorado.
The Flames are clearly excited about Valimaki as evidenced by the fact that Ottawa had wanted him included in a package for Mark Stone before he was traded to Vegas last March. It wasn’t even up for discussion for the Flames.
Now as he heads into his second professional season, Valimaki will be looking to make the Flames again and stick for the whole season. With Mark Giordano and Noah Hanifin ahead of him on the left side, he’ll likely be on the third pairing which could really allow him to become even more comfortable at the NHL level. It’s quite possible that he could be paired with Rasmus Andersson which would be a great opportunity for the Flames future first pairing to continue improving their chemistry.
What do you think of Valimaki’s final ranking?
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