July 31 in 31: Calgary Flames

Joel Henderson


2017 Calgary Flames:

Due to the acquisitions of Michael Stone and Curtis Lazar, the Flames had five selections in this year's draft. The Flames have created a draft pattern in the last few seasons with regard to how they select in rounds 5-7. They like to grab players who had seemingly fallen potentially since midseason in rankings (Mitchell Mattson, Adam Ollas-Mattson), some small skilled forwards with high offensive potential (Matthew Phillips, Andrew Mangiapane), closer to home projects (Pavel Karnaukov, Austin Carroll), and big projects (Stepan Falkovsky, Riley Bruce).  

From the prospects listed above, I think it's safe to say that Flames should lean away from the bigger projects and close to home projects and steer towards the smaller skilled forwards or the once highly thought of prospects.  

With quite a bit of focus being put towards the trade for Hamonic, there was little to no talk of the potential of trading up or down in this draft. Flames opted to simply draft where their picks were and not drop down to gather some more picks they gave up via trade. Lets see how they did in the 2017 draft.

When it came time for the Flames to draft, they opted to grab the best player available on most scouting lists. Valimaki came over to North America after being selected 14th overall in the 2015 CHL Import draft. He was expected to contribute fairly early. He did just that by being Tri-City's second best offensive blueliner that year only behind Parker Wotherspoon. He went from 32 points to 61 this past campaign and showing his love for pinching in and catching opponents off guard. This is a great selection for a Calgary team that already has quite a few prospects who are pushing for an NHL role from the backend. Valimaki has the potential to jump over most of them.  


There is a lot to like about the real life and fantasy potential of the good sized Finn. He will need to continue to develop his strength and defensive tendencies but was much improved in choosing spots to pinch or jump in the rush. He is a strong skater and uses his high hockey IQ to make quick outlet passes and turn the play back in the offensive zone immediately.  


Things to watch for 


1. With the expe