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Tkachuk, Valimaki miss opening of Flames training camp

Restricted free agent forward remains unsigned; defenseman month to month after knee surgery

by George Henn / Staff Writer

Matthew Tkachuk and Juuso Valimaki did not open training camp with the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

Tkachuk, a 21-year-old restricted free agent forward, remains unsigned. Valimaki, a 20-year-old defenseman who tore the ACL in his right knee in mid-August, is month to month after having surgery, general manager Brad Treliving said.

Asked if he was surprised that Tkachuk was not in camp, Treliving said, "I understand it. There was a lot talked about with this group of players (restricted free agents) really for a long time.

"We're on Day One and there's a lot of guys that aren't in camps right now, so you're never surprised. … Sometimes business can delay things."

Tkachuk is among a group of high-profile restricted free agents who remain unsigned, including forwards Mitchell Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche, Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets, Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks and Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and defenseman Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins.

Video: Matthew Tkachuk lands at No. 17 on the list

Treliving said he does not feel Marner's contract situation is holding up the free agent market or Calgary's negotiations with Tkachuk.

"I don't think there's any dominoes," he said. "Everybody's got their own individual situations."

Forward Andrew Mangiapane is also an unsigned restricted free agent. Treliving said it is important that both players attend camp.

"Once camp starts, you hate missing days," he said. "They're days you don't get back in terms of the preparation, you hear it all the time. … I know they want to be playing hockey, so there's always optimism."

Tkachuk, selected No. 6 by Calgary in the 2016 NHL Draft, had 77 points (34 goals, 43 assists) last season. He has 174 points (71 goals, 103 assists) in 224 regular-season games and three points (two goals, one assist) in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Mangiapane, selected by the Flames in the sixth round (No. 166) of the 2015 NHL Draft, had 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in 44 games last season after having no points in his previous 10 regular-season games. The 23-year-old has one goal in five playoff games. 


[RELATED: Stone signs one-year contract with Flames]


Treliving said Valimaki's injury led to Calgary signing defenseman Michael Stone to a one-year, $700,000 contract Wednesday. The Flames bought out the final season of Stone's three-year, $10.5 million contract ($3.5 million average annual value) on Aug. 2.

Stone had five assists in 14 games last season. The 29-year-old missed about four months after being diagnosed with blood clots in his arm Nov. 22. Selected by the Phoenix Coyotes in the third round (No. 69) of the 2008 NHL Draft, Stone has 117 points (29 goals, 88 assists) in 439 games with the Coyotes and Flames. He has one goal in six playoff games.

Valimaki had three points (one goal, two assists) in 24 games last season, his first in the NHL. He had one assist in two playoff games.

"Even at the time we bought out Mike, we knew we needed some more depth on the blue line," Treliving said. "… [We] continued a dialogue with Mike (after Valimaki's injury), and it made sense for both sides."

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