On Monday morning, the Calgary Flames announced that F Dillon Dube and D Juuso Valimaki would be making the opening-night roster and Flames fans were ecstatic. Dube has arguably been one of the most impressive prospects and Valimaki already has the poise that makes him look like he belongs in the NHL. It was also clear the coaching staff loved these two seeing how they spent the most amount of time on the ice.
Along with those two, there’s also Austin Czarnik joining the team who was one of the best AHL players last season. There’s also this that should absolutely warm your hearts:
Last season, while wearing the A for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL, Dube racked up 38 goals and 84 points in 53 games. He also captained Team Canada at the World Juniors where he had three goals and five points to lead them to a gold medal. And he finished the season off by playing with the Flames farm team, the Stockton Heat, for their final few games of the season. During the preseason, like I already mentioned, Dube put up four goals and six points in seven games, along with a 58.39% CF% and11 scoring chances.
Valimaki was also a captain at the World Juniors, leading Team Finland, where he had one goal and four points in five games. Last season, he played with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL where he had 14 goals and 45 points in 43 games. Like I also mentioned, during the preseason, he put up two goals and five points in seven games and averaged 10:32 TOI per game. The team also had the most amount of shot attempts with him on the ice (5on5) with 102 (125 all strengths), however, he did play more than anybody else, so that’s understandable. Individually, he still had 24 shot-attempts (28 all strengths) and had eight scoring chances.
It’s also not often that defencemen make it to the NHL fresh out of their freshman year, so it seems like the Flames definitely have something special in this one.
It’ll definitely be exciting for these two tonight. But the most excited will be Flames fans, only because now both Matthew Tkachuk and Juuso Valimaki have made the NHL before Olli Juolevi (sorry Canucks fans).