The Calgary Flames announce Friday afternoon that they have signed their first round pick from the 2017 NHL Entry Level Draft, Juuso Valimaki, to an entry-level contract.
Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving continues to be a busy man this off-season. It’s like the signings never stop. The Flames announced this afternoon that they have signed the 16th overall pick at the 2017 NHL Entry Level Draft to a three-year entry-level contract.
Defenceman Juuso Valimaki has just signed his name on one of the most important pieces of paper in his life.
Valimaki, a big Finnish defenceman, has been playing with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL the last two seasons.
Stats with Tri-City Americans, Regular Season 2016-2017 (From eliteprospects.com):
Stats with Finland U20 (all), International-Jr 2016-2017 (From eliteprospects.com):
His scouting report prior to the draft also seemed to have good things to say about him.
"A strong, minute-munching, two-way, dependable blueliner. Not a lot of high-end offensive flash or dash to his game, but just makes the right play consistently. Good vision and puck moving ability, has no panic to his game and waits for his options […] His hockey sense allows him to read and react to the play well in advance. Very committed to blocking shots. Big, rangy and covers a lot of ice, but his pivots and transitions are a little bit choppy […] Plays with a good mix of aggression and poise, stepping into lanes to take the puck away from the opposition. Just a good, poised, smart player who is not flashy, but consistently makes the right play and helps his team win games. (Future Considerations)."
When I first wrote up a draft profile on him before the draft, I said that a non-flashy defenceman who still makes smart plays and is a strong two-way defenceman is a perfect fit. I said that he definitely has the potential to be a top-four D in a matter of years. The one con I saw is that the Calgary Flames already have a lineup of defencemen waiting for their shot at the NHL level.
Some even waiting for a full-time position with the big club instead of down in Stockton. However, if he proves himself these next couple of years, he can very well jump ahead of those guys and take their spots.
He’s a smart shooter and knows when to go to the net without being flashy. It was a solid and a safe pick for the Flames.
Per Pat Steinberg on Twitter, Valimaki gets free ELC year in 2018-2019 if he doesn’t exceed 9 NHL games in either of those next two seasons. What this means is that the Flames won’t lose a year off his ELC which means that he could be signed on his ELC through 2021-2022, if that were to happen.
Let’s all give a warm welcome to Juuso Valimaki on officially joining the C of Red!