Two Flames prospects named captain at WJC: Dube and Valimaki

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 29: Dillon Dube
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 29: Dillon Dube /

Two Calgary Flames prospects have been named captain for their respective countries at the World Juniors: Juuso Valimaki and Dillon Dube.

It’s an exciting day for Calgary Flames prospects. Earlier this summer, the Flames first round draft pick at the 2017 NHL Draft, Juuso Valimaki, was named captain of Team Finland at the WJC during the World Junior Summer Showcase. And now today, Dillon Dube has just been named captain of Team Canada at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Yay prospects!

We also have an honorable mention as well: Adam Fox, who won Gold with Team USA last year at the World Juniors has been named an alternate captain of Team USA. So this day just keeps getting better. Now let’s look at Valimaki first.

Related Story: Valimaki named captain of Team Finland

Juuso Valimaki

During the WJSS, Valimaki impressed the coaches and scouts. In the first three games of the tournament, he led all Finnish defencemen with 13 shots in three games.

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.”"

This isn’t the first time Valimaki has had to take some leadership type of role. Four years ago, he was captain of the U16 team. Two years ago, he was captain of the U18 team. And now this. He’s already got quite the resume and he’s only 18 years old.

Related Story: Flames select D Juuso Valimaki at 16th overall pick

Last season with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL, he had 61 points in 60 games which was ranked seventh in points among all defencemen. When he captained the U18 team, Finland won the Gold Medal.

So far this season, Valimaki has 20 points in 19 games which is sixth on the team. However, he’s played in less games than his teammates ahead of him. He’s fourth on the team in points per game with 1.05, fourth on the team. Among all defencemen in the WHL, that ranks ninth.

Via Calgary Flames:

"“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.”"

He’ll be going head-to-head vs. Dillon Dube the first day of the World Juniors.

Dillon Dube

Like we already know, Dillon Dube has been named captain of Team Canada earlier today. Dube missed the first game of the pre-tournament due to a shoulder injury. But he made his debut yesterday in an 8-1 victory over Switzerland where he picked up two goals and an assist.

Related Story: Six Flames prospects at the World Junior Summer Showcase

Via Sportsnet:

"“He was himself – speed, skill,” coach Dominique Ducharme said. “We can see that even though it was his first game with (Jordan) Kyrou and (Sam) Steel, (in) the days in practice we could see the chemistry building. It’s really positive. It can only keep going.”“He’s fast. He’s smart,” Kryou said. “He fits in well everywhere.”“I just settled in a little bit there,” Dube said. “It’s nice playing with those guys. They’re giving me chances to feel comfortable out there. We really clicked well. It made me feel a lot better. It was great playing with them.”"

Dube also played with Team Canada at last year’s World Juniors where they lost to USA in the Gold Medal game. He walked away with a silver medal at least.

Dube was the Calgary Flames second-round pick at the 2016 NHL Draft where he was selected at 56th overall. Like I mentioned, he’ll be facing Juuso Valimaki in the first day of the competition on Boxing Day (Dec. 26th for all the Americans) at 4pm ET.

Next: Is Versteeg's absence the reason for Gaudreau's slump?

Which prospect will come out on top?