4:32 pm: Additionally, the team has assigned defenseman Juuso Valimaki to Stockton, giving a huge extra boost to their farm team. The 23-year-old defenseman had an assist in three playoff games before getting called up to the Flames’ reserves, and he’ll return there for the rest of their run.
2:46 pm: Now that they were eliminated from the NHL playoffs, the Calgary Flames can help out their AHL affiliate. The team has sent Connor Mackey, Adam Ruzicka, and Adam Werner to the Stockton Heat, as the minor league club continues its chase for the Calder Cup.
The Heat, which will be relocated to Calgary next season, are up 2-0 in their best-of-five series against the Colorado Eagles, with game three set for this evening. Though this is technically the third round, they’ve only won one series to this point after earning a bye to the Pacific Division semifinals.
A player like Mackey will be a big help, after he scored 36 points in 53 games to lead all Stockton defensemen this season. Ruzicka too was an extremely strong contributor, though he played only 16 games in the minor leagues as he spent most of the year with Calgary. He had 11 goals and 20 points in those games, as the big forward is starting to come into his own at the age of 23.
The success of Stockton is part of what made the Flames’ season so impressive. There is a lot more talent on the way, including names like Jakob Pelletier and Connor Zary, first-round picks from the last few years. The Heat going all the way would certainly be a good thing for the development of those players, and the future of the Flames in general.