Calgary Flames top prospect Juuso Valimaki has a very bright future in the NHL. The 20 year old former first round pick (16th overall in 2017) made his NHL debut with the Flames this year, playing in the team’s first 22 games but has been sidelined with a high ankle sprain for over a month now. Flames general manager Brad Treliving had the unfortunate job of updating Valimaki’s status last week, downgrading him from week to week to being out at least another month. Now, a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman seems to indicate that Treliving will look to replace Valimaki’s position via trade.
Check it out:
Calgary GM Brad Treliving said defenceman Juuso Valimaki is out until at least late January with a high-ankle sprain. The 20-year-old is a tremendous talent with an excellent future, but the Flames wonder what this means for a return to full speed in 2018-19. They are looking at left-handed options for the blue line.
Among the available left handed defensemen on the market are Jake Muzzin of the Los Angeles Kings, Jay Bouwmeester of the St. Louis Blues and Michael Del Zotto of the Vancouver Canucks. Should Treliving genuinely want to upgrade his defensive depth, he should be able to score one of those three players for a reasonable return.
More troubling for Treliving though is the words of player agent Allan Walsh whom represents Flames forward Michal Frolik. Last week Walsh put Flames head coach Bill Peters on blast, accusing the coach of trying to run Frolik out of town.
Once again, from Elliotte Friedman:
The Flames had a brushfire this week, with agent Allan Walsh’s tweet wondering if Michael Frolik’s lack of use meant head coach Bill Peters wanted to “run a good player out of town.”
The winger was back in the lineup Monday night, with two assists in a wild 8-5 victory over San Jose. That was important for him, the Flames essentially saying, “No excuses about your recently injured ankle, we’re putting you on a good line, you better produce.”
Treliving and Frolik had to know Walsh’s tweet was coming; he never does it without consulting a client or trying to work it out with the team. The history is that a Jonathan Drouin or a Jaroslav Halak or a Max Pacioretty eventually gets traded, and no doubt the Flames will check the market. But, in a year where they are thinking they’ve got a shot, they won’t do anything just for the sake of it. Unless a Frolik trade makes them better or gives them the assets to make themselves better, he’s staying. He is a good player.
For what it’s worth, Frolik has been his usual reliable self this season. He may not be lighting the league on fire with just seven goals and nine points in 23 games, but the veteran winger is one of the most defensively sound forwards on the Flames’ roster. Friedman’s right… he won’t be moved unless Treliving can justify the return coming back.