In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, I’ll try to help Flames fans stay more up-to-date with the news emerging from the organization.
Item One: Swedish Defenseman Oliver Kylington Not Yet Signed
Oliver Kylington, a 23-year-old Swedish defenseman who’s played a couple of seasons with the Flames, hasn’t yet re-signed with the team. He’s currently a restricted free agent without arbitration rights and, probably as a result, without a lot of leverage. In his 87 career games in the NHL, he’s only scored 15 points in total (five goals and 10 assists).
Still, it’s a bit surprising the Flames general manager Brad Treliving hasn’t signed him because, from all indications, he’s seen as part of the team’s future plans.
Item Two: Dillon Dube Plans to Have a Stronger 2020-21 Season
Center Dillon Dube, who’s been a point-a-game player with the Flames AHL Stockton Heat affiliate for the past two seasons, feels he could have done better last season and has set his sights much higher heading into the 2020-21 season.
Dube scored six goals, 10 assists (for 16 points) in the 45 games he played with the Flames last season. He also contributed four goals and an assist in 10 postseason games. Given the unknown impact of COVID-19 on the season, Dube should be pumped up to improve his scoring during the 2020-21 season because he’s on an expiring entry-level contract and there’s a direct relationship to how he plays and what he’s likely to re-sign for – if he does.
There’s no question the team has him in its future plans, and it looks like he will center the Flames third line.
Item Three: Juuso Valimaki Is Scoring Tons in Finland
Juuso Valimaki, a 6-foot-2, 212-pound left-shot defenseman is having a great scoring run back home in Finland. To date, with Ilves of Finland’s Liiga, he’s scored two goals and 11 assists (13 points) in 13 games. That success is great news for the Flames because Valimaki missed the entire 2019-2o season with a torn ACL. Like Dube, he too is signed to an expiring entry-level contract so how he plays this season is crucial to his future re-signing and salary.
The injury was a setback for Valimaki, who played in 24 games with the Flames during the 2018-19 season. The Flames think he has a high upside and, given his apparent good health and successful return to play in Finland, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Flames tried to negotiate a team-friendly, long-term deal.
Again, given the negative impact of COVID-19 on the security of contracts, it has to be a difficult time to negotiate a salary and even a future. However, if times were more normal – and even if they are not – should Valimaki have a strong 2020-21 season it would go a long way to securing a healthy contract.
Item Four: Zach Osburn Re-signs with ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks
The ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks announced that 23-year-old right-shot defenseman Zach Osburn had re-signed with the team for the 2020-21 season.
The Mavericks head coach Tad O’Had noted that “Zach had a tremendous rookie campaign last year for the Mavericks.”
O’Had added that Osburn was “an excellent mobile skating d-man with a strong stick, great on-ice awareness and creativity. We have always liked what Zach brings to the clubs with regards to work-ethic, personality, character, skills and overall grit. We see Osburn being a part of the solution and are excited to have surrounded him with such exceptional talent, skill and leadership for this upcoming season.”
Although Osburn did manage five games with the AHL’s Heat, he spent most of the 2019-20 season with Kansas City. He scored seven goals, 20 assists (for 27 points) in 50 games with the Mavericks. He was also chosen to be an ECHL All-Star for the 2020 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic.
Item Five: Alex Petrovic Notes How Much His Game Has Improved
Veteran NHL right-shot defenseman Alex Petrovic believes his game has improved and he hopes to stick with the Flames as the team’s seventh defenseman. Petrovic spent the entire 2019-20 season with the Boston Bruins AHL Providence but he signed a one-year/two-way deal with Flames early in October.
Petrovic noted that he thinks that his place on the team will take care of itself during training camp. He suggested that “We can all see what kind of contracts there are out there and what guys, where they fit in. But for me, it’s just showing up and getting ready to play. I think I’ve improved a lot on my game since I was in Edmonton or even in Florida. I definitely think I can play at a high NHL level. It’s just going in there and proving it.”
Petrovic is one of those veteran players (243 NHL games and seven seasons with the Florida Panthers) who adds value to an organization. Even if he ends up in the minors, he would offer veteran leadership to the Flames AHL team. (from “Flames’ signing Petrovic determined to prove he still belongs in NHL,” Wes Gilbertson, Calgary Sun, 06/11/20).
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