Calgary Flames defenseman Juuso Valimaki will miss the start of the upcoming season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while training last weekend at home in Finland.
Valmaki, 20, will soon head to Calgary to undergo surgery that will sideline him for indefinitely, according to Flames general manager Brad Treliving. The Calgary Sun pegged Valmaki’s absence at six to nine months.
“It’s terrible news,” Treliving said, according to the team’s official website. “It’s terrible news for Juuso, and certainly, unfortunate news for our club.
“He’s a really good young player who we expected to take a big step and move forward this year. It’s tough. I feel horrible for him. He’s had a terrific summer in terms of preparing. He was really taking some big steps forward and was excited about making an impact on our team this year.”
As a rookie last season, Valmaki played in 24 games for Calgary, scoring one goal and dishing out two assists. He also appeared in 20 games for Stockton in the AHL in 2018-19, registering four goals and 10 assists.
Valmaki was the 16th overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft. While he is shevled, the Flames are pondering how to replace him.
“We’re going to be in the market,” Treliving said. “The good news is that we have some young guys that we think have taken some steps, but we’re certainly going to be looking at potential options on our blue line.”