The Calgary Flames have had a busy Friday, as they were able to work out deals with two defencemen in Nikita Zadorov and Juuso Valimaki.
Zadorov, 26, inked a one-year, $3.75 million deal with the Flames. The six-foot-six defenceman played in 55 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season, scoring a goal and eight points. He also averaged north of 19 minutes per game in 2020-21 and should be a valuable piece to Calgary’s back end.
Related: Svechnikov Set to Sign 8-Yr Extension with Carolina Hurricanes
Valimaki, 22, signed a two-year deal that will have a cap hit of $1.55 million. The young Finnish defenceman had his ups and downs in 2020-21, but remains a very big piece for the Flames. He has plenty of skill, proven by being taken 16th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, along with his success in the SM-liiga. This could be the season he takes a big step forward.
With these two signings, the Flames have just three RFAs remaining in Dillon Dube, Glenn Gawdin and Connor Mackey. All three of these players will be relatively cheap to retain, particularly the latter two, meaning there shouldn’t be much worry when it comes to getting them signed.
Looking at the Flames currently blueline situation, it will be interesting to see whether or not they choose to sign a free agent prior to training camp or perhaps invite one on a professional tryout offer. We saw them do this last season with Michael Stone who ended up signing a one-year deal, and it is a possibility they do the same again this year.
The Flames having their blueline pretty well figured out aside from some possible slight tinkers, their fan base is becoming more and more upset as the summer continues on. After an extremely disappointing 2020-21 season, almost everyone expected general manager Brad Treliving to blow the core up, or at least make one significant change. Instead, he has nearly an identical roster from last season other than the fairly notable signing of Blake Coleman. If this is all he is going to do then the Flames will likely be a bubble team at best this upcoming season.
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