38Dillon Dube
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

Dillon Dube and Juuso Valimaki have made the Flames roster

As the 31 National Hockey League teams scramble to file their 23-man opening night rosters, the Calgary Flames have essentially made all their decisions. Following today’s practice Flames head coach Bill Peters revealed that two rookies will jump straight from the Western Hockey League to the NHL: defenseman Juuso Valimaki and forward Dillon Dube.

Dube, 20, was easily “the story” of this year’s camp. He was superb in 2017’s camp but was always meant to be headed back to the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. Facing an opportunity to go pro, Dube maintained the same exuberance and focus that made him so effective last year and added timely goals and smart two-way play. He was the Flames’ second round selection, 56th overall, in the 2016 NHL Draft – using a pick the club received from Dallas in the Kris Russell trade.

Valimaki, 19, was a bit quieter than Dube in camp – but that might be what you want out of a prospective third pairing defender. He played several preseason games and gradually looked more and more comfortable with the puck. He made several nice plays with the puck and never really looked awful defensively, so he’ll get a shot on the third pairing to beginning the regular season. He was the Flames’ first round pick, 16th overall, in the 2017 NHL Draft. The product of the Tri-City Americans will turn 20 on Saturday.

For the curious, lines at this morning’s practice (via Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson):

Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Elias Lindholm
Matthew Tkachuk – Mikael Backlund – Michael Frolik
Dillon Dube – Derek Ryan – James Neal
Sam Bennett – Mark Jankowski – Austin Czarnik
(Extras: Curtis Lazar and Garnet Hathaway)

Mark Giordano – TJ Brodie
Noah Hanifin – Travis Hamonic
Juuso Valimaki – Michael Stone
(Extras: Rasmus Andersson and Dalton Prout)

Mike Smith
David Rittich

Jon Gillies, Brett Kulak, Anthony Peluso and Andrew Mangiapane didn’t skate but remain on the camp roster. Lazar skated after clearing waivers earlier today.

The Flames are currently carrying 28 players. They must send five players to the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat prior to tomorrow’s 3 p.m. MT roster deadline.

      • RU63

        I think Andersson is a RD. If so, I think Brodie has Andersson’s spot right now (Val needs a steady stay at home vet to play with (Stone)). It was probably always going to be Val or Kulak as the third pairing LD; if Kulak would have won out, then perhaps Andersson would have been his RD.

        • oilcanboyd

          Andersson will be with the Flames for the duration of Valimaki’s 9 game tryout! If Valimaki keeps improving…lookout! Flames due for an outstanding season.

  • LannyMac

    Valimaki appeared weak in his own end. Out of position far to often. He will be down in Stockton before his NHL career is 9 games old. He needs a full year in the A

  • Avalain

    Ah, poor Andersson. He should get the call up as soon as they need a right defender. Great news for Dube and Valimaki though! Let’s hope that they play amazing and force Treliving to keep them up.

  • C-of-Dread

    It doesn’t make sense to have Andersson sitting as an extra, just to give Valimaki a 9 game “taste” before letting his contract slide when they send him to Stockton.

    And

    The keeping Lazar over Mangiapane. The reclamation project failed. Sick it up and send Curtis to Stockton.

    Mangiapane has nothing left to prove in the AHL, and would do fine alternating in Calgary, and nipping at the others’ heals.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      WRONG! When Mangiapane was up last season he had crap linemates, was in and out of the lineup and had a very fluid–also known as undefined–role. In effect, he was put in a position where the cards were stacked against him and he failed to impress. Unless the kid is going to be a regular roster player who plays every night, I want him to burn with anger as a Heat, scorch the AHL and force Flames management to move an unproductive asset–early bet is Bennett–so the not-so Towering Inferno is brought back to Cal and plopped in a situation where he can utilize his rather formidable skill set. Ain’t gonna happen if he is a regular sitter in Popcorn Playhouse on game nights.

  • MDG1600

    This might be wishful thinking but maybe the Flames want to see how Valimaaki looks in the NHL so they know if they can afford to trade away Brodie for goaltending help?

  • Hockey4life

    I’m not sure why but I’m not a huge Andersson fan. He looks small and slow. Not saying he is….it’s just always what I think when I watch him. Valimaki shows glimpses of being great but I don’t think he’s NHL ready yet so I’m quite surprised right now. Why is lazar still with the big club? Great guy but let’s move on.

  • ComeOn

    Ok, I really like what I see in Valimaki, a great skating, smart d man with good hands and a feel for both the offensive and defensive side of the game. My problem is, our previous coaching and development took a guy, promoted him to 3rd line D, fed him 12-13 mins a game and seemingly struck the fear of death into him when it came to taking offensive chances. Those that watched an untethered Kulak saw offensive potential that he was not permitted to utilize.

    Even if he is ultimately more talented, I don’t want to see this happen to Valimaki.

    • JMK

      The likes of Andersson, Kylington and Wotherspoon all progressed under Huska so hopefully he will get the best out of the young guys. Not to mention Peters rep from Carolina was that he worked well with young D too

  • Mickey O'McGritty

    Good on both of them. It was never really a case of if they would make the team, but when.
    They both have that confident, “I’m making the show, just try and stop me” attitude.

  • Demeo8

    After watching the juniors last year I had a real good feeling about dube making this team. Thanks for proving me right! Gotta love a guy that works that hard and is so humble. Takes it one day at a time. Still knows he has to work hard and has 9 games to prove he belongs. I really think valimaki and stone will be really good together. The 2 or 3 games they played together in the preseason was defintaly better than what u would ever get with him and kulak. Andersson needs to get stones spot by the trade deadline unless stone really starts to earn that contract. 10 goals with that shot would be nice. Lol

    • oilcanboyd

      Dube was a no-brainer to start the season with the Flames…one of the last cuts at last year’s very impressive camp and a stellar season in junior followed…

  • Sobueno

    Well, one of the things we heard about Peters was his willingness to actually put young guys in his line ups. I say if they’re the best players for their positions then go right ahead, and in Valimaki’s case, worry about expansion drafts and such when that time rolls around. Nice to see more evidence of that whole earned not given mantra, which seemed like nothing but lip service with Gulutzan.

    • HOCKEY83

      It would be great if a good rookie can come in and play top minutes for the Flames but Dahlin, Mittlstadt and Petterson will all get way more minutes than Dube. Gaudreau 64 points Stone 64 points Forsberg 63 all lost it their rookie season to 18 year old Defenceman Ekblad 38 points. That will more than likely happen again this season with Dahlin unless some rookie forward posts a point per game.

  • Alberta Ice

    Last year Gully and the Management sent Jankowski down after a stellar preseason. Had to keep Brouwer and the ‘brothers’ together in town. Glad to see this year Peters and company are giving the guys who are showing something a chance to make the big team. Andersson and Mangiapane have looked good too. I like our depth!

  • redwhiteblack

    Awesome. Is it me or does James Neal feel like a forgotten addition with all this other (mostly positive) news? I just hope he shows more than he did in preseason.

  • Zesty14

    I can just imagine the conversation last year when Dube was the final cut. “You did great out there kid. No doubt you have determination to make this team, but Were sending you down for one more season, you kill it down there come back and have the same camp you did this year we will make room for you.” Love the intensity in his game. Was always taught by my coaches your legs only stop when your on the bench. Cautiously optimistic for this season. I’m happy with the deck management has built.

  • everton fc

    Do we really think they should keep Mangiapane in Calgary, so he can sit in the press-box? Ditto, Andersson??Makes no sense. So there you go.

    I bet Lazar is retained. Or Peluso. If the latter is retained, no need for Prout, really. But they’ll keep Prout, over Andersson, or go with 8 d-men, and one extra forward (Hathaway).

    My honest hope is they can somehow move Stone, prior to Wednesday. But they won’t. And they won’t go w/a 5/6 of Valimaki and Andersson.

  • With Respect

    The team is getting a lot smaller although how do you not love the play of Dube. Not sure why they traded Kulak a very serviceable 3rd pairing guy or at the least a seventh d-man.Valimaki is not ready needs more seasoning and maturing, Andersson will prevail most likely.

  • Garry T

    Wotherspoon and Kulak gone bites. Terrific pairing in the AHL. Hathaway still here,
    Bites. Very few points. No playmaking ability shown in camp. Bites some more.
    Hope I am wrong.