The Calgary Flames have sent Juuso Valimaki to Finland to play in Liiga.
The Calgary Flames have announced that Juuso Valimaki will be heading overseas to get some playing time in soon. The 21 year old Finnish defenceman is going to head back to Finland to suit up for Tampereen Ilves to start this season.
The young defender is in need of playing time somewhere. He missed all of last season with injury and needs to get back on the ice.
Valimaki was the 16th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. He had 19 goals and 61 points in 60 WHL games for the Tri-City Americans that season. He showed the potential to be a top-pairing two-way NHL defender in the future, and was living up to that billing at a young age.
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The 6’2″ and 210 pound left shot defender had a terrific 2018-19 season. He made his pro debut that season and would score four goals and 14 points in 20 AHL games before being called up. Valimaki played 24 games with the big club as a 20 year old and looked pretty comfortable at the highest level.
Unfortunately, the young blue liner was injured in August, 2019 after his strong rookie campaign. He tore his ACL while training to prepare for 2019-20, and missed the whole season.
News that Valimaki is heading to Finland at least confirms he is healthy again. That is a huge step in the right direction for the young player. After not playing a game for close to 18 months, it will be important he gets some reps in before trying to take over a role on the Flames blue line again.
The top league in Finland is set to begin this weekend. It will be interesting to see how quickly Valimaki gets into the lineup. Then, it will be important to watch how quickly he can get back into game shape.
Having not played in about a year and a half already, it was important to find a spot for Valimaki to play soon. We don’t know how much longer we will have to wait before we see the Calgary Flames in action again, but we know Valimaki could finally get a chance to play this weekend.