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Calgary gets defenceman from Islanders in exchange for pick

by staff @NHLFlames /

The Flames have acquired defenseman Travis Hamonic from the New York Islanders along with a fourth round pick in either the 2019 or 2020 NHL Draft in exchange for Calgary's first and second round picks in the 2018 NHL Draft and a second round pick in either the 2019 or 2020 NHL Draft.

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by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

CHICAGO - Appetite is important. And not only in an all-you-can-eat buffet line.

"This,'' praised Tod Button of Tri-City Americans' cornerstone defenceman Juuso Valimaki, "is an explosive guy who has a big, big desire to change games. He wants to get up ice, he wants to make plays, he wants to get involved with the offence.

"Like most kids, he makes mistakes. But for every mistake he makes, he makes 25-30 good plays ups the ice. You don't need to light a fire under this kid, believe me.

"What's impressive is his will.

"He's happy to take on responsibility. He wants to make a difference. Every shift."

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Flames European amateur scout wished him good luck pre-draft and things turned out perfect

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

CHICAGO - On the way to his seats in the stands at the United Centre a couple of hours before the action got underway, Juuso Valimaki happened to bump into Ari Haanpaa, who was on his way to the draft floor.

"He just said 'Fingers crossed for you','' recalled the newest Flame of the chance encounter with the organization's European amateur scout, his fellow countryman and supporter.

As things played out, an hour and a half later …

"I guess that turned out to be a good omen,'' said Valimaki, modelling the Flaming C for the first time.

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Tri-City Americans defenceman taken with 16th overall pick

by staff @NHLFlames /

With the 16th overall pick at the 2017 NHL Draft, the Flames have selected Tri-City Americans defenceman Juuso Valimaki.

Valimaki was the Americans' fourth-leading scorer in 2016-17, netting 19 goals and 61 points in 60 regular season games. He had one assist in four playoff games this past spring.

He for Finland at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, scoring two goals in seven games.

Valimaki has also represented Finland at the 2015 and 2016 U18 World Junior Championship tournaments, winning silver and gold medals respectively.

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Brad Treliving and the Flames scouting staff are feeling comfortable heading into this evening's draft

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson /

It's draft day!

The Flames currently hold the 16th overall pick in the first round, a spot Brad Treliving sees as having great potential to land a high-end player despite rumblings about this year's set of prospects not having the glitz and glamour of past drafts.

"The idea that this is a bad draft ... we've referred to it as a tighter draft. There's less gaps between players.

"I think it gets compared to what has happened in recent memory, especially at the top of the draft," he added, referencing draft classes led by the likes of Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews, and Patrik Laine. "But there are really good players - really good players.

"We're at 16, we're really confident we're going to get a really good player there.

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Several top prospects held their pre-draft media availability on a Shoreline Sightseeing Boat Tour

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson /

Every year, the NHL holds a handful pre-draft events that allow media to meet with the prospects in unique spaces to get a different look than your standard player scrums you see throughout the year.

Last year, the likes of Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk talked to the media at Niagara Falls. The year prior, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel held court with journalists while taking a tour of the Everglades in Florida. 

This summer, with the draft being in Chicago, the League lined up a boat tour for the prospects to hold their pre-draft media availability. hopped on the Shoreline Sightseeing Boat Tour and caught up with Nico Hischier, Nolan Patrick, Klim Kostin, Gabriel Vilardi, and Cody Glass:

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Top prospect has strong sports lineage, including his uncle James Patrick who played defence for the Flames

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

CHICAGO - For an impressionable young hockey dreamer, the dressing room at Ralph Engelstad Arena on the UND campus in Grand Forks could just as well have been inside the Bell Centre, MSG, or Joe Louis Arena.

Or the gates of heaven, for that matter.

"I hung up the jerseys one time when Buffalo was playing an exhibition game against someone there,'' says Nolan Patrick, remembering the sensation of being star-struck.

"I must've been, five. Seven, maybe? Right around there, anyway.

"Uncle James pulled some strings."

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Flames legend Joey Mullen sings the praises of fellow Lady Byng winner Johnny Gaudreau

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

From afar, the old mini-me master sees plenty to admire in the new updated version.

"He's just so much fun to watch,'' compliments Joe Mullen admiringly, when asked about Johnny Gaudreau. "I don't need to tell you guys in Calgary, you see it every night, but his skill level is tremendous. Sees the ice. Makes players other people can't. Deceptive skater. Thinks the game so well.

"Sure, he's small, slight.

"Then again, so was Gretzky.

"I wasn't the biggest guy, either. I certainly wasn't going to beat anybody up but my revenge was to make it hurt on the scoreboard.

 "Looks like he feels the same way."

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Defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins visit the Scotiabank Saddledome Nov. 2

by staff @NHLFlames /

The Flames announced today their 2017-18 regular season schedule. Calgary opens the 2017-'18 campaign on the road in Edmonton at Rogers Place on Wednesday, October 4th before returning to Calgary for the Flames home opener at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday, October 7th when they host the Winnipeg Jets.

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Four of the NHL Draft's top prospects helped out at a youth ball hockey clinic on Thursday

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson /

Four of this year's NHL Draft class' top prospects kicked off the day by helping out at a youth ball hockey clinic beside the United Center. In attendance were Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier, Gabriel Vilardi, and Casey Mittelstadt - four mainstays in the NHL Draft media rotation this week.

Flames TV and stopped by the event, catching up with the kids ahead of what will be the biggest moment of their career thus far.

Watch for a column from George Johnson and a one-on-one Flames TV feature with Casey Mittelstadt later today.


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