As Calgary Flames prospect Juuso Valimaki’s season came to an end the other night, let’s check out an update on the 19-year old.
The Calgary Flames 2017 first-round pick has had a busy year. First, Juuso Valimaki was drafted at 16th overall by the Flames. Then, he participated in the World Junior Summer Showcase last summer, playing for Team Finland, where he was named the captain of Team Finland for the World Juniors later that year. He was also signed to a three-year entry-level contract by the Flames in July.
At the World Juniors, Valimaki and Team Finland made it to the quarter-finals but lost to Team Czech Republic in a shootout. Valimaki had one goal and four points in five games at the tournament. He also cried after the loss, and no I will not be sharing the video because I don’t feel like crying right now.
This season, he spent his third and what will most likely be his final season playing with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL. He played in just 43 games this season due to an injury and due to the World Juniors happening. In those 43 games, he had 14 goals and 45 points. Among all defencemen in the WHL, he finished seventh for points per game with 1.05.
The TCA lost in a devastating 6-5 OT loss in game six in a best-of-seven series against the Everett Silvertips in the Eastern Conference finals. In that 6-5 OT loss, Valimaki had four assists. A pretty decent potential-final-game of his junior career. In the playoffs, Valimaki had four goals and 17 points in 12 games, which was fourth on the team, and third for pts/gp with 1.42.
Among all defencemen in the playoffs, he finished fifth in points, third in pts/gp, but the two ahead of him played only three and four games.
I am a little surprised he didn’t sneak his way onto the World Championship roster for Finland. Among all the defencemen who made it, he seems like he would have been a great fit on the third pairing, maybe even the second pairing. It may also be that he plays in North America and almost all the defencemen play in Finland and are already in the system since most also played for Team Finland at the Olympics. But he does seem more offensively gifted than all but three of the defencemen.
If Rasmus Andersson and Brett Kulak both remain with full-time jobs with the Calgary Flames this season, there is definitely room for Valimaki on the Stockton roster. And we’ll most likely see him play there and finally turn pro.