The Calgary Flames have signed rookie defenseman Juuso Valimaki to a standard entry-level contract. The value of the contract has not been released but he could not have received upwards of $925,000 per year, which is the highest a rookie can be paid. After a superb WHL season and rookie development camp it’s not surprising the Flames locked up their young star.
The 18-year-old Valimaki is coming off a career year in the WHL where he put up 19 goals and 42 assists for 61 points in 60 games, almost double his output from the year before in Tri-City. Now while Valimaki can always play up to nine games in the NHL before being sent back down to the WHL without burning a year off his entry-level contract, it’s expected that he will begin the year in the WHL.
Valimaki has also been quite solid internationally as well, he won a U-18 World Junior Championship Silver medal in 2014-15. And he also won a U-18 World Junior Championship Gold medal in 2015-16. Back home in Finland before he came to North America, Valimaki won the Heino Pulli Award for Rookie of the Year in the Jr. B Finnish League.
Juuso is already a big kid at 6’2” and 215 pounds and since he’s just 18. He can definitely add more to his frame before he joins the NHL, or AHL for that matter. Either way, he’s going to become a very solid pro when he’s ready and locking him up as soon as possible shows the Flames have trust in him.
However, this scenario could always happen too. Valimaki will likely spend his first year of his ELC in the WHL with his second year being spent in the AHL if needed. That would mean his final year would either come in the AHL or NHL.
Last Word on Hockey’s thorough scouting reports can provide you with a full rundown of Juuso Valimaki.