141Juuso Valimaki
Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

Juuso Valimaki out indefinitely due to injury

A major wrench has been thrown in the 2019-20 season for the Calgary Flames, and it’s only August.

The team announced today that Juuso Valimaki tore the ACL in his right knee during a training session. It will require surgery, and he’s out indefinitely.

This will mark the second season in a row that Valimaki will miss significant time with a lower-body injury, which is a very unfortunate trend. Last year, he suffered a high ankle sprain which cut into his rookie season. Due to recovery time and spending time down in the American Hockey League, he only played in two of the team’s final 60 games.

This comes shortly after the Flames bought out Michael Stone, likely meaning that Oliver Kylington will see major time in the big leagues this season, barring any major trades to bring in another player to fill Valimaki’s shoes.

He was looking to build off a rookie season which saw him score one goal and add two assists. No timeline has been set on his recovery.

    • Beer League Coach

      Thanks Kevin for kicking my trade brain into gear. Pachla on HB has reported Sabres and Risto are ready to part company and Sabres would like to add a RW. I came up with a 5 player deal but it didn’t work cap wise for Sabres. So I expanded it to a 7 player deal. All cap hits are from Cap Friendly.
      Calgary Buffalo
      Cap space before trade 7,756,625 (1,059,524)
      Brodie 4,650,400 (4,650,400)
      Jankowski 1,675,000 (1,675,000)
      Czarnik 1,250,000 (1,250,000)
      Ristolainen 3 years left on contract (5,400,000) 5,400,000
      Zirgensen 1 year left (1,600,000) 1,600,000
      Cap space after 5 player deal 8,332,025 (1,634,924)
      Buffalo also sends to Flames
      Casey Nelson 27 year old RHD 1 yr left (812,500) UFA on July1 812,500
      Matt Hunwick 34 year old RHD 1 yr left (2,250,000) UFA on July1 2,250,000
      Cap space after 7 player deal 5,269,525 1,427,576
      Valimaki (LTIR) 894,166
      Cap space after 7 player deal & Val LTIR 6,163,691 1,427,576
      Flames sign 2 RFA forwards for 1 year
      Tkachuk 6,000,000
      Mangiapane 950,000
      Cap space after trade and sign RFA’s (786,309) 1,427,576

      At this point Flames have 13 F, 8 D, and 2 G Sabres have 14 F, 8 D, and 2 G
      Maybe Tre can get Sabres to retain salary on Hunwick. Say $800,000 would leave Flames with a little over $13,000 in cap space. Flames keep 7 D on NHL roster. Put Hunwick on waivers Iand send to Stockton and keep Nelson as #7 D. If Hunwick clears waivers Flames are free of all of his cap hit. If he doesn’t clear he goes to AHL and Flames get relief for $1,075,000. Flames would have 1 extra fwd and 1 extra D man and would have cap space to call up a forward with small cap hit to sit on pop corn row. Buffalo has cap space and would gain a little more when they send 1 player to Rochester to get down to maximum roster size.

      Hope my math is correct. I didn’t have much time to double check my work. What do you think of this deal?

      • Beer League Coach

        FN formatting makes this difficult to follow. I had the numbers all nicely arranged in columns like on an Excel spreadsheet. Hope fans can follow along and understand my post.

        • Beer League Coach

          Reasons. Trade centers around Brodie and Risto. Brodie goes closer to his home and Risto gets out of Buffalo. Janko, because Kevin suggested him as part of a package and Flames can fill his spot with Dube or Zirgensen. Frolik not included because it just wouldn’t work for Sabres to take on his salary. Flames take Zirgensen to fill out fwd roster without rushing anyone from Stockton. Buffalo gives up 2 more RD because they still have 8 D after the trade and have Jokiharu in Rochester (acquired from Chicago in a trade). Sabres were over the cap before the trade and are now cap compliant. Flames sign Byng and Mang to 1 year contracts to get through this year and then can go for long term deals next year with more cap space.

      • mrroonie

        I love the irony of trading Ol’ Uncle Fester’s mistake from when he traded down in the draft in 2012 for the player who was chosen with the pick he traded away.

        • Beer League Coach

          I wondered if anyone else would catch that irony. I thought of it when I wrote my original post but left it out because the post was already a long one.
          I will also correct a mistake. Hunwick is a LD; not a rightie. It is now reported that Risto has requested (maybe demanded) a trade out of Buffalo.

    • TheBigChef

      Ristolainen is a nightmare defensively. He has been a good powerplay guy, but even if you dislike advanced stats you can’t ignore how atrocious he has been at 5v5. No matter which tool you use to look at it he is a below replacement level defenseman at 5 on 5. We don’t really need him that bad for a powerplay. With that contract, I wouldn’t touch him.

      • Beer League Coach

        From the time he was drafted he was expected to be the savior for the Sabres who have been a terrible team all the time that Risto has been there. Put him with good players on a good team and I think he would live up to all the hype that surrounded him when he was drafted. He seems to me to be the D equivalent to Cam Neely. Neely was expected to be Canucks savior when he was drafted and ended up being traded to Boston for a former all-star center. Vancouver also sent a 1st round draft pick in that trade. Neely and a 1st for a washed up Barry Pederson. And the draft pick turned out to be Glen Wesley. Not saying Risto will turn into an all star but he will show a lot better with a good team than he has shown with Buffalo.

        • Kevin R

          Risto is a big D that I thought maybe a change would work really well as well. We need someone that can punish forwards & that kid is built like a sherman tank. Your trade scenario was pretty complicated & I dont think Tre nor Tkachuk want a 1 year deal. Too much risk on both sides. Sabres could use a centre, why I thought about Janko with Brodie. Keep in mind pretty sure Sabres can put Bogo on IR to get compliant. I was actually trying to figure out how to pry Reinhart as well but it got way too complicated & unrealistic.

          • Beer League Coach

            1 year deal is not ideal for anyone. I made it a 1 year deal just to get through this season where we are tight against the cap. Ideally, it would be a long term deal from the get go.

          • Beer League Coach

            Not that complicated. Basically it is Brodie for Risto. The rest are just add ons to make it work under the salary cap for both teams. Girgensen and Janko salaries are pretty much a wash but including them helps Flames cap situation slightly. $75 K is not a big difference but is enough to make a difference on Flames cap hits for this season. If Flames could move Frolik without taking back salary that would help immensely.

  • super6646

    The off-season that keeps on giving…. sigh*. Get well soon vali. Really concerned with how this affects his development. Can’t be good to miss two seasons with injuries now.

    I also can’t wait to see the next FN article from Pat about how Brodie is still super expendable and overrated and passed by all of our young dmen while pretending injuries never happen. 👎

  • Toma41

    Dammit. I mentioned this before. This kid is injury prone. Missed time a couple years ago due to his knee. Last year due to his ankle and now the whole year coming up. No good.

    • Rudy27

      Had mine replaced a few years back and my surgeon wasn’t pleased to hear I was on ice curling (with a stick though) within the first 4 months. Generally you are walking on it with crutches for stability within the first 24 hours. Was better than new within 6 months, other than doing a full knee bend. Sure beats the 8-12 weeks in a cast and about 14 months to start playing again like the old days.

    • oilcanboyd

      Lanny, my google from an Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialist says “An ACL surgery recovery time is different for each athlete. Some athletes may recover within six months, while others may take 12 months or even more.”

      So, not good news fans!

    • Budgie

      It depends on the extent of the repair, slight tear or total graft repair-surgery-he’s likely gone until March and it could be a season ending situation if it requires a total graft-reattach ligament –6-10 months. It isn’t even worth thinking of Valamaki for this season, if he comes back by playoffs we will be lucky. Tough loss for such a talented guy and Calgary was counting on him-he must of been doing some heavy training to have an ACL in the knee go

    • cjc

      I found one reference that suggests minimum 6-7 months post surgery before they can resume on ice activity – mitigating factors here are Valimaki’s actual knee stability (if he’s strong, he’ll recover faster), age (he could heal quicker being a 20 year old) and the actual need to rush him (low, given organizational depth). 7 months will put Val in the mid-March time frame. However, he’ll need at least a couple weeks of on-ice activities before he plays, and I think it’s likely he goes to the AHL first to get his game back. Given that this is his second major injury and the team views him as a valuable asset, I doubt there is any push to rush him into action unless they are absolutely forced to by circumstance.

  • TheBigChef

    This is just so cruel. On the same day Corey Pronman ranks the Flames as the worst farm system in the league, our best “prospect”– the one we refused to give up in order to trade for Mark Stone (mistakenly so, in my opinion)– is now going to miss probably 6 months in what probably would have been his most important development year.

    Could sure use some better news today…looking to you Treliving and Tkachuk.

    • Derzie

      You wouldn’t know it from the FN kool aid but this team is in a nosedive. Positive news has been super scarce since last year’s all-star break. The only real positives have been RFA housekeeping, the goalie prospect Wolf and getting shed of Neal & Smith (of course we got Lucic & Talbot in return, oil-stench and all). Losing out on Zucker, Kadri. Weak drafting. Failure to get Chucky signed. Failure to move Frolik or Brodie. Failure to address playoff weaknesses. Our top contracts starting to look ancient and alienating our players. Our best D prospect is proving to be made of glass. The Pronman declaration. Oh and the majority of our competition got better. The arena sits on both sides of the ledger. Ay carumba.

  • Soupy19

    Hopefully he’s not done for the season. In fact, I doubt he’s out for the season. No doubt that Brodie now stays but maybe he’s moved at the TDL if Valimaki is healthy in March.

  • Cheeky

    This is Kylington’s time to shine, can’t see Peter’s partnering him with Brodie as they are similar style. Wondering how the pairs will look now (Ras and Oliver may partner but Peter’s won’t give them a ton of minutes together) – how would Hanafin and Brodie look together? Thoughts…

  • supra steve

    1. This does suck.
    2. The Flames have a decent replacement in Kyllington.
    As long as the remaining D stays relatively healthy, it shouldn’t hurt the Flames as much as it would most other NHL clubs.

    • TheBigChef

      This is true, Steve. Flames can manage until he gets healthy and probably won’t have a huge impact on our playoff chances, assuming no other major injuries on the back end.

      Just a crappy situation and bad timing. We’ve been talking about moving Brodie for picks all summer largely because we assumed Valimaki was ready to step in and play regular minutes this year. Now Brodie is less expendable and it’s going to be hard with our cap problems to find help with our D-depth. Also sucks that he is losing a big chunk of prime development years.

      You’re right though. Silver lining is we get to see what Kyllington has to offer. Let’s see if he takes the ball and runs with the opportunity. Could be huge for us if he takes a big step forward like Andersson did last year. Will be interesting to see what the pairings look like opening night.

      • deantheraven

        I too have sipped the sugary optimism beverage. Always had confidence in Kyller being able to keep growing into his game. The question is, is it enough pressure to cause performance anxiety, or is this the time to grab the bull by the horns and run with it? For sure though, this won’t the last time anyone will speculate about whether he’s ready or not. I was a little sad to see Tre’s pragmatic quote, and I hope Oliver can prove once and for all he belongs.

        • Brian McGrattan's Salute

          Well, he seemed like a confident kid when he was playing. His two goals were beautiful, and with his speed, he can at least give himself a chance to recover on mistakes. So hopefully he will shine!

          The power of being an underdog, and suddenly getting your chance to play ought not to be understated.

    • Oil Spilly

      Petrovic could barely crack my oilers cruddy defence lineup last year. So if he can crack the flames lineup this is a good thing for Pacific teams including the oilers.

  • Trevy

    Looking at the bright side, we didn’t trade Brodie and we have good depth st defense. Plus Valimaki is very young and will bounce back. Great opportunity for Kylington/Davidson

  • The Lovely Kim Wexlar

    Yikes. Looks like Brodie will be sticking around – which further complicates the cap situation and MT’s contract. Curious to see Treliving’s solution to all this…

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Terrible news. I can only see one bright side to this… Kylington. I think he’s better than Peters gives him credit for and now he’ll have a chance to prove it. If Kylington was ever in the conversation as trade bait as part of a bigger deal, I’m hoping this cements his place in the Flames organization for years to come.

  • BendingCorners

    I’m guessing Peters puts Andersson on the second pair with Hanifin and lets Hamonic supervise Kylington on third pair. And hopes there are no more serious injuries to the D.

    • cjc

      I suspect we’ll see similar pairings to what we saw for a good chunk of last season:


      Though I don’t think your suggestion is outlandish.

  • everton fc

    Tough break, for Valimaki.

    Kylington will fare well, though. At least that’s how I see it. And one (or both) of Valiev and Yelesin, could also find opportunity, in Valimaki’s unfortunate setback. Davidson remains the #7. For now.

    So much for trading Brodie. (Can they park Valimaki’s salary on LTIR?)

  • oilcanboyd

    We managed last season without Valimaki, can do it again, but that means Brodie stays until Vali is fully cleared to play. I would like to see Yelesin push hard at training camp for a roster spot or mid-season call up .

    • deantheraven

      If Vali takes six months to recover, it might be close enough to the trade deadline to move Brodie. But that’s a gamble Tre won’t make. Vali would have to be fully recovered and playing, at least in the ‘A’ by TDL Day. Then comes the ‘hope’ he really can play at the NHL level.

  • deantheraven

    Tre quoted in a press release, saying they’re going to be in the market. My hope is that he’s only looking for a little insurance depth, and that he has faith in the D men that are left.
    Really looks bad now, letting Fanta go and buying out Stone.
    Is Prout still unsigned?