Rasmus Rissanen
Image: NHL

Rasmus Rissanen


Kuopio Finland

Currently Playing In:






Eligible for draft:









6th round (178th overall), 2009


215 lbs.

<<<<<<< Updated upstream

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: Rissanen 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: Rissanen signed a three-year entry-level contract in April 2011, He 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. 

2014-15: Rissanen made his NHL debut in his fourth pro season — skating in six games with Carolina in March after being re-called from the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. He was -5 with no points and 4 penalty minutes before suffering a season-ending lower body injury. He scored 1 goal with 10 assists and was -7 with 69 penalty minutes in 52 AHL games with Charlotte. Rissanen was re-signed to a one-year contract by Carolina as a restricted free agent in July 2015. 

Talent Analysis

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 is now in his fifth pro season in North America. After making his NHL debut last spring, he was once again waived by the Hurricanes following training camp and will start the 2015-16 with the AHL's Charlotte Checkers. Now 24 years old, Rissanen does not appear to have a high upside but there seems to be a comfort level with the Hurricanes' organization and he could see time in Raleigh if injuries occur.

Carolina Hurricanes used 2009 draft to bolster NHL lineup

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Photo: Defenseman Rasmus Rissanen is the only member of Carolina’s 2009 draft class who is still with the Hurricanes organization. Rissanen was selected in the 6th round of the 2009 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Jamie Kellner/HF)

In the summer of 2009, the Carolina Hurricanes were coming off a surprising run to the Eastern Conference finals, meaning the team would choose near the bottom of the draft.

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The Carolina Hurricanes have more or less all their eggs in one basket, with the majority of their prospects playing for the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. With the sheer number of prospects Carolina is playing at the professional level, one would expect better results in the AHL. That is not the case however, as the Checkers currently rank 11th in the AHL's Western Conference.

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Photo: Rookie defenseman Ryan Murphy began the 2013-14 season in the NHL and has looked very good so far. Murphy was the 12th overall selection in the 2011 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI)

With the lack of high-end talent in their farm system and an urgent need for game changers at the professional level, the Carolina Hurricanes find themselves in a familiar position. The organization made bold moves by putting top prospects Ryan Murphy and Elias Lindholm on their NHL roster to start the 2013-14 season. Now once again, the minor ranks are depleted of high-end talent and the Hurricanes' success relies on several rookies making an immediate impact.

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Hurricanes’ struggles could hurt or help Charlotte Checkers down the stretch

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Photo: Chris Terry has emerged as the top playmaker in the Carolina Hurricanes system. With 30 assists through 44 games, he has already matched his 2010-11 total. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Kellner)

With the Carolina Hurricanes struggling, many expect the team to ship out several veteran players leading up to the trade deadline. That could mean one of two things for the Checkers: 1) several of their high-profile players could see extended time in Raleigh; or 2) the Canes will add some high-level talent that could assist Charlotte in their drive for a Calder Cup.

The good news for Carolina’s prospects is that new coach Kirk Muller has embraced his call-ups, using them in all situations and giving them top minutes, a practice that was rare under his predecessor, Paul Maurice.

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Photo: Christopher Gibson (LAK), is one of three untested goaltenders appearing in the WJCs for Finland. (Photo courtesy of Dave Connell/HF)

The 2011 Finland squad for the 2012 U20 World Junior Championship offers an intriguing blend of experience and youth – with arguably the tournament’s most high profile player, Mikael Granlund, skating in his third World Junior championship.

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Throw in a first-year coach making his debut at the World Junior Championship and an untested, but talented, trio of goaltenders, and the fortunes of Finland are a mystery at this point.

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