Ristolainen’s adjusted plus-minus is the worst on the entire Buffalo defense corps over the past 3 seasons, it is worse than even Matt Hunwick. Rasmus Ristolainen’s name has been bandied about NHL trade rumors all summer, but so far nothing has materialized. First of all, the Sabres blue line is a bit crowded. However, the Buffalo News reports that Ristolainen implied in an interview with MTV Uutiset (translation required) that he asked to be traded.

So who could take advantage of a market flush with capable defenders? The team can demote Lawrence Pilut and even Henri Jokiharju, but will still need to make room on the blue line. I can guarantee you if you watch Ristolainen you will notice his poor decision making and poor gap control in transition.

Consistency has been a challenge for the 24-year-old, especially in his own end but he can make a considerable impact when he’s on his game. The New York Islanders have made quite a few moves this offseason, re-signing Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson as well as adding goaltender Semyon Varlamov to their franchise, but the team may not be done yet. This really goes to show that Ristolainen is not the dream right-handed defensemen like many may say, his height and TOI don’t define him to be a good player. Other early notes from around the league: Buffalo Sabres| Lars Eller| Nikolay Goldobin| Rasmus Ristolainen| Vancouver Canucks| Washington Capitals, August 17, 2019 at 7:56 pm CDT | by Holger Stolzenberg 1 Comment. Phase 2, small group workouts, is expected to begin as early as next week. Brandon Montour| Buffalo Sabres| Calvin de Haan| Carolina Hurricanes| Chris Kreider| Colin Miller| Gustav Forsling| Haydn Fleury| Henri Jokiharju| Jake Gardiner| Jake McCabe| Joel Edmundson| John Gilmour| Justin Faulk| Lawrence Pilut| Los Angeles Kings| Marco Scandella| Minnesota Wild| New York Rangers| Rasmus Ristolainen| San Jose Sharks| St. Louis Blues| Tampa Bay Lightning| Toronto Maple Leafs| Trevor Van Riemsdyk| Tyler Toffoli| Zach Bogosian, August 24, 2019 at 9:45 am CDT | by Brian La Rose 1 Comment. “We’re continuing to try to set this team up where we’re putting ’Risto’ in positions to have success,” Botterill said. Botterill said while his discussion with Ristolainen are private, the team has worked hard to put the 24-year-old in the best situation possible for success in the future.
Many have thought a change of scenery might be the answer for Ristolainen, but the Sabres have been hesitant to deal him only to see him develop into a star elsewhere. Bogosian, Scandella, and Jake McCabe seem like the most likely to be dealt at this point. P.K. Lysowski writes that Buffalo has ample cap space to make an addition at forward, but there are few ideal candidates left on the free agent market and the team may as well use their surplus of blue liners to swing a deal. The 22nd% is hardly even a top-6 level NHL defenseman.
RFA Jake McCabe is not likely to be dealt, but a potential candidate and injury-prone Zach Bogosian and overpaid veteran Matt Hunwick might be hard to move. However, the best return they could find was a prospect forward, Dominik Bokk, and another established defenseman in Joel Edmundson from the St. Louis Blues. Those moves have made Ristolainen even more expendable. He has had these low-quality numbers for his entire NHL career so it can’t be a sample issue, the idea he is on a bad team and that is the reason his numbers are bad is false because his numbers are among the worst out of the entire team, and the numbers adjust for quality of teammates, quality of competition, zone starts among plenty of other important factors. However, Ristolainen’s name has continued to pop up, especially after the Sabres have added a number of defensemen this offseason after the team acquired Colin Miller from Vegas and top defensive prospect Henri Jokiharju from Chicago. Nonetheless, with a $5.4MM AAV for three more years, expect GM Jason Botterill to be fielding a lot of interest in him over the coming weeks. AHL| New York Islanders| Nick Leddy| Ottawa Senators| Prospects| Rasmus Ristolainen| Tampa Bay Lightning| Toronto Maple Leafs| Vancouver Canucks, July 10, 2019 at 6:22 pm CDT | by Zach Leach 3 Comments. Today, Ristolainen popped up in reports from two different reporters on opposite sides of the continent. Boston Bruins| Buffalo Sabres| Calgary Flames| David Pastrnak| Oliver Kylington| Rasmus Ristolainen, August 11, 2019 at 10:31 am CDT | by Holger Stolzenberg 5 Comments. 1 shutdown defender that the team had hoped for when they drafted him with the eighth overall pick in 2013. Perhaps this is why. With next year’s salary cap now set at $81.5MM and teams now knowing what they can now spend, it’s probable that interest in Ristolainen will pick up.

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