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'IT'S TERRIBLE NEWS'

Juuso Valimaki has sustained an ACL injury during off-season training

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

It was a call the general manager never saw coming.

With news that defenceman Juuso Valimaki had torn his ACL during an off-season training session over the weekend, Brad Treliving felt a wide swath of emotions.

"It's terrible news," Treliving said. "It's terrible news for Juuso, and certainly, unfortunate news for our club.

"He's a really good young player who we expected to take a big step and move forward this year. 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.

"You're upset. You're upset for the player, first and foremost - and obviously, where we saw him fitting in with us. You absorb it and move forward. That's all you can do.

"You want to be there for the player, because right now he's devastated."

There is currently no timeline on when the 20-year-old will return to the ice and, eventually, game action. But with surgery needed to mend the muddled right ligament, months - not weeks - are typical. To confirm, Valimaki will soon travel to Calgary and establish a game plan with the Flames' medical staff, and a surgery date will follow.

In the meantime, and with training camp opening one month from today, the Flames now have a hole on the blueline that the GM is actively looking to fill.

"We're going to be in the market," Treliving said of a possible trade or free-agent signing to help shore up the left side. "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 blueline."

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