The Coyotes grabbed Juuso Valimaki (D) and Connor Ingram (G) off waivers recently from Calgary and Nashville respectively. Both immediately made the opening night roster and will kick off the year with Arizona. Both have solid pedigrees from their draft positions and production at lower levels but they also share an uncertain future. It is not yet clear whether or not this change of scenery will be helpful.
Valimaki looked like a dominant, top-pairing offensive power play specialist as recently as 2020-21 when he famously (in prospect circles) scored 19 points in 19 Liiga games to start the year before crossing over and joining the Flames. Then, as I outlined in a Journey article in July, he ran into Daryl Sutter and seemed to lose both deployment and confidence. Since then, he has struggled at both the NHL and AHL levels and has not been able to recapture the habits and vision that were helping him excel previously.
It is not just his Liiga performance that had poolies excited, however. His PNHLe score—a metric that translates scoring from other leagues into NHL terms using historical comparables—actually peaked in 2017 when he was drafted. At that point, he had turned in a point-per-game season in the WHL—a comparable pace to 2022 picks like Denton Mateychuck, Kevin Korchinski, and Pavel Mintyukov.