2007-08: Rasmus Rissanen appeared in five games for KalPa at A juniors and represented Finland at the WJC U-18 tournament. In six games with Team Finland, he had 2 assists with 18 PIM.
2008-09: In a season split between his duties with KalPa’s A junior squad and Finland’s U-18 team, Rissanen established himself as one of the more physical young defensemen in Finland. Rissanen and KalPa teammate Ville Hyvarinen brought size and strength to a mostly undersized yet highly talented defense corps for the squad that upset Canada in the Bronze medal game at the U-18 World Championship tournament. In 29 games with KalPa, he scored 1 goal with 8 assists and racked up 56 PIM. Was scoreless in 6 games with Team Finland but his toughness caught the attention of CHL scouts. He was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the First Round (17th overall) of the CHL Import Draft.
2009-10: Left Finland to play in the WHL and enjoyed a solid first season with Everett, a team that allowed the fewest goals in the WHL (175) during the regular season. He scored 4 goals, all on the power play, with 11 assists and was plus-18 in 71 regular season games while accumulating 103 PIM. Appeared in all seven games of Everett’s first round playoff loss to Kelowna, recording 1 assist with 8 PIM and finishing minus-4.
2010-11 – Rissanen made his pro debut with Charlotte (AHL) after completing his second season in the WHL with Everett. Rissanen was plus-1 with three shots on goal in his only appearance for Charlotte and was with the team during their playoff run but did not see any action. In 68 games with Everett, Rissanen led the Silvertips with 89 PMs and was minus-17 while scoring 1 goal with 11 assists. He scored a pair of goals, one on the power play, and was minus-4 with 8 PMs in the Silvertips’ four-game playoff loss to Portland before joining the Checkers. Rissanen also represented Finland in the 2011 World Junior U-20 championship. He was scoreless and plus-1 with 14 PMs in six games at the tournament.
2011-12: Signed to a three-year entry-level contract in April 2011, Rissanen played for Carolina’s AHL affiliate Charlotte as a 20-year-old in his first pro season. He scored 3 goals with 3 assists and was an even plus/minus with 57 penalty minutes. The Checkers finished third in the Midwest Division; one point out of an AHL playoff spot.
2012-13: Rissanen skated in 61 games for Carolina’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte in his second pro season – third most amongst defensemen for the Checkers. A stay-at-home defender with a physical presence, he was third on the team with 84 penalty minutes and was minus-3 with 9 assists. The Checkers finished second in the South Division and lost to third-place Oklahoma City in a first round playoff series. Rissanen was minus-10 with 10 penalty minutes in the five game series with the Barons.
2013-14: Rissanen played in 62 of 76 games in his third season with the Charlotte Checkers — suffering a shoulder injury in a fight in December that kept him out of the lineup for 14 games. He scored 3 goals with 7 assists and was minus-7 with 91 penalty minutes. The Checkers missed the playoffs; finishing fourth in the West Division. Rissanen signed a one-year two-way contract with Carolina as a restricted free agent in July 2014.
Rissanen is a big defender with little flash to his game. Sometimes undisciplined, he plays with emotion and effort and doesn’t back down from anyone. He has a strong shot. Though he is more of a stay-home defender, Rissanen is capable of making a quick outlet pass and also solid as a point man on the power play. He must improve his mobility and foot speed but his size and strength are attributes that make him a legitimate prospect.
Rissanen attended training camp with the Hurricanes after re-signing as a restricted free agent and was assigned to AHL affiliate Charlotte to start the 2014-15 season after clearing waivers. A defensive defender with the size and demeanor to play a punishing game Rissanen is now in his fourth pro season and has yet to make his NHL debut. While he continues to improve and the possibility exists that he can be a solid lower-pairing defender in the right NHL situation it is just as likely Rissanen plays out his career at the AHL level or heads to Europe for a more lucrative opportunity.