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Flames looking to add defenseman after Valimaki injury

20-year-old tore ACL in right knee during training

by NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The Calgary Flames are looking to add a defenseman in a trade or in free agency with Juuso Valimaki out indefinitely after tearing the ACL in his right knee during offseason training.

Jake Gardiner and Ben Hutton are among the best remaining unrestricted free agent defensemen Calgary could add to its group, which is led by Mark Giordano, who won the Norris Trophy voted as the best defenseman in the NHL last season.

"We're going to be in the market," general manager Brad Treliving told the Flames website Monday. "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."

Those young players include Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington, each 22. The Flames will need them to continue their development with Valimaki out of the lineup.

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

Valimaki, who turns 21 on Oct. 6, had three points (one goal, two assists) in 24 regular-season games as a rookie last season and had one assist in two Stanley Cup Playoff games.

A native of Tampere, Finland, he helped his country win the 2016 IIHF Under-18 World Championship.

"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."

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