Calgary Flames 2017 First Round Pick, D Juuso Valimaki, has been named the captain of Team Finland for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Competition.
As if the Calgary Flames defencemen don’t already look dangerous. Their first round pick at this past year’s NHL Entry level Draft, Juuso Valimaki, has been named captain for Team Finland at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Competition!
The 18 year old defenceman who was selected at 16th overall at the 2017 NHL Draft is also one of six Flames prospects participating at the World Junior Summer Showcase. Valimaki currently leads all Finnish defencemen with 13 shots in three games.
Of course the 18-year old feels some type of way about this.
Via AMS Hockey:
"“It means a lot,” Valimaki, 18, said Thursday. “It’s a huge honor for my home country and playing with that jersey on and having the C, it’s something special for sure. It’s a really big honor.”“He has big-time leadership qualities,” Finland coach Jussi Ahokas said. “He takes charge on the ice, defends well, also can make smart plays with the puck. The big thing is on the team he is a leader, and we need those kind of guys.”"
However, this isn’t the first time that Valimaki has had some sort of leadership-type role.
When Valimaki was captain for Team Finland at the U18 WJC, they won the Gold medal. He also played with them the year prior (he wasn’t captain then), but he still won a silver medal then! Valimaki was also ranked higher on most of his rankings than the 16th overall pick, so the Flames got quite lucky when he was still available at that pick.
Just a few weeks ago, Valimaki signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames (yay for important signatures!).
Juuso Valimaki has been playing with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL for the last two seasons. Last season, he had 61 points in 60 games, which is pretty good for a defenceman. Out of all defencemen in the WHL, he ranked seventh for points, eighth in powerplay assists (22), fourth on his team in points, and second on the team in PPA.
Valimaki hasn’t seen his name on the score-sheet yet at the WJSS, but he’s impacting in other ways.
"“I think I’m a guy who leads by example. I try to be a nice guy, positive guy … not negative or yelling all the time. Before games I like to be really focused, by myself, not very loud. We have other guys who are better at that. I’m more a guy that leads by example.” Valimaki said.“This is an explosive guy who has a big, big desire to change games. He wants to get up ice, he wants to make plays, he wants to get involved with the offence,” Flames director of amateur scouting Tod Button noted.“Like most kids, he makes mistakes. But for every mistake he makes, he makes 25-30 good plays ups the ice. You don’t need to light a fire under this kid, believe me.“What’s impressive is his will.“He’s happy to take on responsibility. He wants to make a difference. Every shift.”"
Congratulations to the newest member of the Flames organization! Looks like the Flames have some leadership qualities in their future.