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Calgary Flames

2021 Flames Report Card: Juuso Valimaki

The rookie defender had some struggles in his first full NHL year



Juuso Valimaki, Defense

2020-21 Stats: 49 GP, 2 G, 9 A, 11 Pts, 26 PIM, -2

53.00 CF%, 0.68 CFRel%, 53.54 xGF%, 0.38 xGFRel%

Individual Grades

MGMacGillivray: C- I’m super torn on Valimaki becasue we did see some glimpses of him being a really good player this year but we also saw a lot of instances of poor puck management and decision making. Some of it can be chalked up to rookie mistakes, but as we saw Darryl Sutter clearly felt that Valimaki was pretty disappointing given expectations and wasn’t at the level the team needed him to be at. After missing all of last year and starting this season in Finland, I think it’s easy to see that there were going to be challenges for him, but I have high hopes that he can learn from this past year and take on a bigger role next year.

MarkParkinson14: D Sometimes learning on the fly is difficult and that’s exactly what Valimaki’s 2021 campaign was. I’m all for him taking his lumps and getting that NHL experience under his belt, so take my “D” grade with a grain of salt. Expectations were certainly high for the Russian defenceman as the season started, but Valimaki had a very uneven season and at times was really struggling. No one in their right mind is writing him off yet, but as first impressions go, this wasn’t a good one. His 11 points were good for 15th on the Flames, which ranked him as the fourth highest scoring Flames defenders. Not good enough for a heralded prospect. Hopefully a full season on 2021-22, which also won’t see him coming off a bad knee injury, will see Valimaki take the next step.

MadelineCampbell: B. Like the guys said, this was definitely an up and down season for Valimaki, and I think when you take all of that and average it out, you end up with a season that was just fine. I am being pretty generous still, I think, in part because he’s coming off of injury and still working through some of those young player growing pains, but also because I still have a lot of belief in his potential and upside. Do we need to see more from him next season? Absolutely. But the flashes that we did see this season left me with a lot of optimism, and I’m comfortable cutting him some slack this season.

RenuSahota: D

MilhouseFirehouse: C

Gordie.Taylor: C

Readers: C

Final Grade: C

by Michael MacGillivray