Drafting Juuso Valimaki at 16th overall: B+
Defenceman Juuso Valimaki was an excited kid on June 23rd when picked by the Calgary Flames. He also put up a respectable amount of points in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans, 61 points in 60 games. He was seventh among all defencemen in points (61), eight among all defencemen in powerplay assists (22), and fourth on the team in points.
Valimaki is a safe pick and doesn’t quite raise any red flags in his playing style. He’s not flashy at all and is a highly dependable two-way player with good puck movement. The reason this didn’t get a higher grade is for two reasons. I believed the if D Timothy Liljegren wasn’t available at that 16th overall pick, the Flames would have gone with a forward instead. And there were still many great forward prospects to choose from still available when the Flames had their pick (Kailer Yamamoto, Eeli Tolvanen, Kristian Vesalainen). But nonetheless, they went with a D.
However, Liljegren was still available, and the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted him at that 17th overall pick. Liljegren has been compared several times to Erik Karlsson (definitely someone you’d want to be compared to). However, I can see why the Flames would have skipped him. He was sick for a couple months and he’s a bit more flashy than Valimaki. Valimaki is more of a safe pick. So this decision got a B+.
Eddie Lack Trade: A-
This was an AWESOME trade. The Calgary Flames acquired G Eddie lack from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for basically nothing. They got Eddie Lack, D Ryan Murphy (who was then put on unconditional waivers), and a 2019 7th round pick for prospect D Keegan Kanzig and a 2019 6th round pick. Oh, and Carolina retained half of Lack’s salary, so the Flames are only paying him $1.375 million. He also only has a year left on his contract, so if things don’t work out, they could not re-sign him.
While Eddie Lack hasn’t been the best, the Flames managed to actually make something out of Keegan Kanzig and they got a backup goalie. And they got it at a good price without giving up a lot. This gets an A-.
As long as there’s no Dennis Wideman type of signing, the overall off-season grade gets a solid B+ grade. Good job Treliving. Now let’s bring in Jaromir Jagr and call it a successful off-season…