The Calgary Flames have gained some cap relief, but at the expense of a young player they drafted in the first round. Blueliner Juuso Valimaki, placed on waivers on Saturday by the Flames, has been claimed by the Arizona Coyotes, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Per NorstarBet’s Chris Johnston, Flames properties Dennis Gilbert and Radim Zohorna both cleared waivers.
Valimaki, 24, carries a $1.55 million cap hit at the NHL level and would cost the Coyotes $425,000 as a cap burial penalty in the event he’s demoted to their AHL affiliate (after clearing waivers).
A standout with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, Valimaki was the Flames’ first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. He went pro in 2018, but he suffered a high-ankle sprain during the 2018-19 season and an ACL tear that required surgery during the 2019 off-season that resulted in him losing the entire 2019-20 playing season.
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Despite his injuries and subsequent challenges in the NHL and AHL, Valimaki is still a promising young player and now he gets a fresh start with a new organization. The Flames had likely hoped to tuck him away in the AHL where he could find (and refine) his game. Now, they get the cap relief from Valimaki’s cap burial penalty, but lose out on the player.