2009-10: Jaynen Rissling played in 36 WHL games for the Calgary HItmen as a 16-year-old. He had 8 assists and was plus-seven with 19 penalty minutes. Calgary finished with the league’s best record and reached the Memorial Cup after winning the league playoff title. Rissling appeared in nine of 23 playoff games and was plus-seven; scoring 1 goal with 2 assists and 4 penalty minutes. Rissling dressed in one game during the Memorial Cup and had no points or penalty minutes. Calgary lost 5-4 in overtime to WHL rival and tournament host Brandon in the semifinal game.
2010-11: Rissling skated in 67 of 72 games for the HItmen in his second WHL season. Rissling’s minus-27 plus/minus was indicative of playing substantial minutes on a team that won just 20 games and had the league’s worst record. He scored 5 goals with 16 assists and was second on the team with 95 penalty minutes.
2011-12: Rissling was a physical force on the blue line for the Hitmen while contributing offensively. In 55 games he scored 5 goals with 18 assists and was plus-nine with a team-high 124 penalty minutes. Calgary returned to the top of the WHL standings, finishing second behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. In the five-game playoff series with Brandon, Rissling was minus-five with no points or penalty minutes. Ranked 135th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings, Rissling was selected by Washington in the seventh round (197th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Rissling continued to provide toughness and supplementary offense in his fourth season with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. Leading Calgary in penalty minutes (122) for the second straight season, he scored 5 goals with a career-best 23 assists and was +35. The Hitmen finished second in the Central Division and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals against first-place Edmonton. Rissling had 6 assists and was +1 with 18 penalty minutes in 17 playoff games. He was with Washington’s AHL affiliate in Hershey during the AHL playoffs but did not appear in any games.
2013-14: Rissling attended the Washington Capitals training camp before returning to Calgary for an overage season in the WHL with the Hitmen. A team captain for Calgary, Rissling had career highs in goals and assists despite missing most of January with an injury. He scored 8 goals with 29 assists and was +4 in 54 regular season games. Rissling had 17 fewer penalty minutes than in the previous season but led Calgary in that category for the third straight season (105). The Hitmen finished first in the Central Division but lost to Kootenay in a six-game first-round playoff series. Rissling had 2 assists and was minus-2 with 12 penalty minutes in the series. Nashville acquired the rights to Rissling from Washington for a 7th round pick in the 2014 draft on April 19th and signed him to a three-year entry-level contract three days later.
Rissling is a big, strong kid who shows a lot of grit, leadership, and character on ice. While he isn’t the most highly skilled of defenseman, Rissling brings some decent puck moving skills and defensive attributes to his game. He is also a physically imposing defenseman who loves to throw the body and drop the gloves when needed. He hits hard and plays hard and it has won him some recognition at the various levels of hockey.
Rissling will attend his first training camp with the Predators and will likely begin his pro career with Nashville AHL affiliate Milwaukee in 2014-15. A hard-nosed defenseman who can provide supplementary offense at times, he projects to being a second and third pairing defender at the NHL level in the future provided he can continue to improve his skating and technical skills.