Rasmus Ristolainen
Image: NHL

Rasmus Ristolainen

Hometown:

Turku Finland

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1994-10-27

Position:

D

Eligible for draft:

2013

Shoots:

Right

Drafted:

2013

Height:

6-3

Acquired:

1st round (8th overall), 2013

Weight:

207 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • B

History

2010-11: Rasmus Ristolainen made his SM-Liiga debut as a 16-year-old, seeing 6:41 minutes of ice time in a February game for TPS Turku, and spent much of the season with the club’s U20 team; also skating for the club’s U18 team in the SM-Liiga U18 playoffs. He represented Finland at the U17 World Hockey Challenge. Ristolainen played 27 games with TPS’ U20 team and was minus-20 with 12 assists and 30 penalty minutes. TPS reached the U18 finals and In 13 playoff games Ristolainen scored 5 goals with 3 assists and had 8 penalty minutes. He played five games at the WHC and had 1 goal and 4 penalty minutes.

2011-12: Ristolainen made TPS’ SM-Liiga team out of camp and appeared in 40 pro games. He represented Finland in the U18 and U20 World Junior Championship tournaments. After averaging over 20 minute of ice time in his first eight games, Ristolainen’s ice time decreased a bit but he ended the season with 3 goals and 5 assists and was minus-21 with 78 penalty minutes; averaging 16:33 minutes of ice time. He appeared in two playoff games and was minus-two. In eight games with TPS’ U20 team he had 4 assists and was plus-four. With Olli Maatta out of the lineup for Finland’s U20 team, Ristolainen played in all seven games, including the bronze medal game, at the U20 WJC. He was plus-one with 3 assists as Finland finished fourth. Ristolainen was an assistant captain for Finland’s U18 team and was plus-three with 2 goals, 1 assist and 10 penalty minutes in seven games. Ristolainen was selected by Amur Khabarovsk in the first round (12th overall) of the 2012 KHL Draft.

2012-13: Ristolainen assumed a larger role for TPS in his second SM-Liiga season — skating in 52 games for Turku — and played for Finland at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa. While the season was a disappointment team-wise (TPS missed the playoffs after finishing 13th in the 14-team league), Ristolainen was the team’s leading scorer amongst defensemen. He scored 3 goals with 12 assists and was minus-seven with 32 penalty minutes; averaging 21:40 minutes of ice time. In six games for seventh-place Finland at the WJC he scored 2 goals with 4 assists and was plus-five. He joined TPS’ U20 team for the league playoffs and scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was minus-five in five games. Ristolainen was ranked third among European skaters in Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings prior to the 203 NHL Draft, and fourth in the CSS final rankings.

 

Talent Analysis

Rasmus Ristolainen has the size, skating ability and shooting and stick handling skills that make him an outstanding offensive defenseman prospect. Plays with a physical component to his game and has become more disciplined as he's gained more experience. Still developing in terms of positional play and defensive responsibilities - his calling card is his willingness to be involved in the play and to push the envelope at times.

 

Future

The Sabres want Ristolainen to play in North America so it would be easier to keep an eye on him, but where Ristolainen plays for the 2013-14 season depends on him. Ristolainen is eligible for the AHL, much like Zemgus Girgensons, but the Finnish defenseman has stated his desire to play another year for TPS should he not make the Sabres lineup. He has the potential to be a top pairing defenseman in the NHL. He is already playing significant minutes against men in the SM-liiga.

2014 WJC Video: Rasmus Ristolainen, Finland

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Rasmus Ristolainen - Team Finland

Photo: Finland defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen celebrates with the Championship Trophy at the 2014 World Junior Championship after he scored the gold medal-winning goal in overtime to defeat Sweden, 3-2 (courtesy of LUDVIG THUNMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

It was a nearly identical gold medal-winning goal as the one scored two years by Mika Zibanejad, only this time, Sweden was on the receiving end. Finland defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen grabbed the puck along the boards and powered his way to the front of Sweden's net to beat Oscar Dansk for the overtime goal, giving the Finns a stunning 3-2 win in the finale of the 2014 World Junior Championship.

Read more»

2014 WJC Video: Rasmus Ristolainen, Finland

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Rasmus Ristolainen - Buffalo Sabres

Photo: Buffalo Sabres defensive prospect and current Rochester American Rasmus Ristolainen is taking part in his third U20 World Junior Championship with Finland (courtesy of Jen Fuller/Getty Images)

Finland began the 2014 World Junior Championship tournament with a solid win over Norway on Friday, defeating that country 5-1. But their usual nemesis, Sweden, defeated Finland on the third day of the tournament, taking a 4-2 decision from the Finns.

Read more»

Rebuild fully underway for Buffalo Sabres

by Jason Chen
on

Zemgus Girgensons - Buffalo Sabres

Photo: Forward Zemgus Girgensons is one of four teenagers to play for the Buffalo Sabres this season. The Latvian-born Girgensons was selected 14th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

Currently amid a full-scale rebuild, the Buffalo Sabres have 43 prospects in their system, including seven first-round picks, giving them both quantity and quality at every position. The Sabres also have many prospects already contributing at the NHL level, including forwards Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko, and Johan Larsson.

Read more»

Top 50: Wealth of talent and NHL experience among bottom-10 prospects

by HF Staff
on

Matt Dumba - Minnesota Wild

Photo: Defenseman Matt Dumba, who is poised to crack Minnesota’s opening night roster, leads the players ranked 41-50 in HF’s Top 50 prospects ranking (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon SMI)

The Fall edition of the Hockey's Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects begins with the prospects ranked 41-50. The lockout-shortened 2012-13 season left a talented pool of eligible prospects, evident already in the bottom group of players.

Read more»

Buffalo Sabres expecting increased contributions from numerous prospects in 2013-14

by Jason Chen
on

Sweden v Canada - 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp

Photo: Forward Gustav Possler tries to score for Team Sweden during the 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp in August. Possler was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The future of the Buffalo Sabres is now. Five of the six players drafted by the Sabres in the first round since 2010 – Mark Pysyk, Joel Armia, Mikhail Grigorenko, Zemgus Girgensons, and Rasmus Ristolainen – are expected to be key contributors this season.

Read more»