While the Calgary Flames had a big win on Monday, they were missing a pair of defensemen. Flames general manager jumped on Sportsnet 960 The Fan with Pat Steinberg and Will Nault in the afternoon and provided some injury updates.
Treliving had a succinct summary for both Michael Stone and Juuso Valimaki’s statuses: “Not close.”
Stone is dealing with a blood clot. Things are progressing, but it’ll take some time. He’s skating and working out, but they have to let things run their course medically. The club may have a better sense closer to end of January what the timeline is for his return.
Valimaki is dealing with a significant high ankle sprain. He’s going to need more time. He’s progressing through his rehab, but like Stone it’s looking like they’ll have a better sense of his timeline near the end of January.
“They’ve been out awhile and they certainly will be out awhile yet,” said Treliving.
It’s also worth noting that, though Valimaki has only played 22 games this season, he’s been on the roster for 40 games, which will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent a year earlier than he would have otherwise.
Other thoughts from the GM
But the radio hit wasn’t all injury updates. Treliving had a few other thoughts on the first 39 games of the Flames’ season.
The spot we’re in, I like that we’re not maxed out. So I still think, when you really break down our team collectively and individually, there’s more to give. There’s certainly been some real good individual performances and for the most part – really getting through that first part, that initial part of the season – we’ve been a fairly consistent team, which is something I think you need to be to be a good team. But we’re not maxed out.
Treliving added that he likes that the team’s game is “sustainable.”
In speaking about the team’s internal growth – and the need to get contributions from the players that aren’t their stars – he mentioned Mark Jankowski several times. He noted that as Jankowski develops, it’ll help the team become deeper up the middle. He emphasized that Jankowski and Garnet Hathaway have become really good penalty killers.
Treliving thought that Valimaki would need to be in AHL until Christmas to be ready to play in the NHL originally, but he earned a spot in camp. He credited the young defenders and assistant coach Ryan Huska for how well the young defensemen have worked. He praised Mark Giordano’s influence on the youngsters and pointed out that the Rasmus Andersson recall last season was because “we wanted him around Mark Giordano.”
He praised David Rittich for his performance this season. He had nice things to say not only about his on-ice work, but also his mental approach to the game while playing a tough position and after having a challenging initial NHL experience last season.
Treliving pointed out that teams that have success tend to have internal growth (and do their big moves in the summer), in reference to a question about being in a position to adding a rental player. They’re obviously always looking for ways to improve their team, but it appears that their focus this season might be working with the players they have in Calgary and Stockton.