Calgary Flames defenceman Juuso Valimaki suffered a torn ACL during off-season training and will be sidelined indefinitely, the team announced Monday.
The 20-year-old will undergo surgery on his right knee and is expected to miss multiple months while he recovers. The injury is a big blow to the Flames’ defence corps, and general manager Brad Treliving claims the club will consider external options to replace the Finn.
"We're going to be in the market," Treliving said in a press release. "The good news is that we have some young guys that we think have taken some steps, but we're certainly going to be looking at potential options on our blue line."
Valimaki appeared in 24 games with the Flames in 2018-19, scoring one goal and adding two assists in his debut campaign. He also got a taste of playoff hockey, skating in two contests and notching one helper during Calgary’s first-round loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Flames had lofty expectations for the 16th overall pick in the 2017 draft, believing he was ready to shoulder a bigger load this season.
"He's a really good young player who we expected to take a big step and move forward this year,” Treliving said. “It's tough. I feel horrible for him. He's had a terrific summer in terms of preparing. He was really taking some big steps forward and was excited about making an impact on our team this year.
"Having said all that, it happens. It's a harsh sport and unfortunately you deal with these things. We'll deal with it.”
More NHL coverage from Yahoo Sports