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JR Ewing

Rasmus Ristolainen implies he's asked to be traded

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The drama surrounding the future of Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen took another turn when he implied that he has asked to be traded

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According to a translation of the interview, Ristolainen said he wanted to keep the discussions with Sabres' management private. Ristolainen's future has been a question, especially as the Sabres have added an abundance of defensemen this offseason.

 

"I cannot say anything other than the fact that on the 12th of September, I will be at one of the NHL team's training camps," he said.

 

The headline of the MTV Sports article reads, "Ristolainen dissatisfied with situation with Buffalo Sabres – wants to move elsewhere."

 

MTV Sports is the same news outlet that reported months ago that Ristolainen would not be back with the Sabres, though, the team would have to make a move for that to be the case.

 

When he met with Buffalo reporters at the end of the season, Ristolainen seemed uncertain about whether he needs a change of scenery or wanted to remain with the Sabres.

 

He is under contract for three more seasons with an annual cap hit of $5.4 million.

 

"I haven't been able to help the team win," he told MTV Sports, according to the translation. "Recent seasons have been tough and I haven't been able to enjoy hockey."

 

Ristolainen, 24, finished the season with an NHL-worst rating of minus-41, which isn’t necessarily an accurate representation of his overall performance, but is the second-worst mark by any player since the 2005 lockout and tied for the worst in franchise history.

 

Ristolainen recorded 43 points (five goals, 38 assists) this season, the second-best mark of his career. But he continues to struggle with his decision-making and awareness, in one-on-one puck battles along the boards despite his size and strength, and with turning the puck over in his own zone.

 

In a reference seemingly aimed at critics, he said, "Commentators may not know what players need to go through during the season."

 

He said he has focused most of his offseason regimen on improving his speed.

 

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A couple things bother me here:

"I haven't been able to help the team win".... he was quoted. Ok...it's called a rebuild, with a bunch of young players and still weeding out veterans who aren't in the long term plans. He is NOT the only one who 'couldn't help the team win'.....it's an entire process. So...is that cause for him to want to go elsewhere? Leave because things are tough right now and not wanting to be part of the solution?

Also...
The media HAS been speculating on whether he will be a long term Sabre or not. No secret. That's is what the media does...speculates, stir up stories...they need SOMETHING to write about.
Does that REALLY bother Mr. Ristolainen? And so he finds the hockey "not enjoyable"...and he thinks maybe a change of scenery would help? Like to where? A bigger market with an even bigger microscope on him?

Fact is, Buffalo has treated him as a #1 defenseman and frankly, he isn't that. Nice skillset, but probably a #3 or #4 second pairing guy at best on a deeper team.
That's not on him that the Sabres dumped #1 responsibilities on him....they simply had no other options.
Now the Sabres are slowly gaining other options, though none still stands out as a true #1 D yet.

What IS on Ristolainen is his own play.
I don't care what else is going on around him, basic decision making with the puck, playing SMART when it comes to checking and positioning, and helping with goal prevention by any means necessary are things he struggled with....and things that make a good NHL defenseman.

I don't care where he goes...if he struggles with those things, he won't find the "hockey enjoyable" elsewhere either.

Obviously, I don't have all the facts, don't know what the Sabre front office is thinking or what is truly in Risto's heart, but this sorta makes him sound a bit like a whiner....
"It's too tough...what are these other defensemen doing here.....I'm no having fun...we aren't winning....blah, blah, blah"

I wouldn't want a guy who seems to fold under the bit of pressure that a market like Buffalo provides. Imagine if he played for markets like Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago.....he'd probably be a minus 85, and it wouldn't matter if his teammates were HOF skaters.

Sheesh...get a grip, Risto.
You are 24 on a young rebuilding team....just work on what you need to work on and let the FO do whatever the FO is going to do.

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Not a fan.

 

  Dont get me wrong, he can score from the back end, but man does he get caught pinching in leading to odd man rushes the other way WAYYYYY to much. Essentially a power play specialist who needs a great defensive partner to cover his glaring deficiencies, and the Sabres do not have a Vlasic or a Stralman type to help cover his deficiencies.

 

  Young, inmature both on and off the ice apparently, five years in the league a combined putrid minus 130 culminating with last year minus 41. 

 

  Positives are he has proven he is a consistent 40 point a year guy with a fantastic first pass negatives are he doesn't score a lot of goals,  career high of 9 and most of his assists seem to be the secondary assist with a low percentage being the primary assist variety. 

 

  So he does have talent but I wouldnt want him. At this point he is what he is and probably wont get much better.

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20 minutes ago, yave1964 said:

Not a fan.

 

  Dont get me wrong, he can score from the back end, but man does he get caught pinching in leading to odd man rushes the other way WAYYYYY to much. Essentially a power play specialist who needs a great defensive partner to cover his glaring deficiencies, and the Sabres do not have a Vlasic or a Stralman type to help cover his deficiencies.

 

  Young, inmature both on and off the ice apparently, five years in the league a combined putrid minus 130 culminating with last year minus 41. 

 

  Positives are he has proven he is a consistent 40 point a year guy with a fantastic first pass negatives are he doesn't score a lot of goals,  career high of 9 and most of his assists seem to be the secondary assist with a low percentage being the primary assist variety. 

 

  So he does have talent but I wouldnt want him. At this point he is what he is and probably wont get much better.

 

Players like Ristolainen highlight the biggest inefficiency in the NHL.

 

1) Players get paid for points.
2) Many players who get points contribute to their teams being outscored despite their point totals.

 

Finding the players who help the goal share while not getting enough points to move the salary dial is the golden ticket when filling out the roster. At this stage of the game, Risto is absolutely not that type of guy. Gets a lot of points, spends a lot of time picking pucks out of his own net.

 

I agree completely with @TropicalFruitGirl26 about his usage, in that it's been completely inappropriate. I think he could do some real damage as a soft-minute guy, but the Sabres have consistently played him like a top-pairing guy. A mistake, I think.

 

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As much as I do not like Ristolainen's comments I watch the Sabres far more than most that have posted here.  Its not his damn fault that his plus minus rating is so bad.  The goalie has been horrible.  The forwards the same.  He has at times been frustrated and who wouldnt be.  Lets see how he does with a better skill set around him.  If he does stay.  He is not going anywhere for free.  If he leaves, its going to cost

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2 minutes ago, Hockey Junkie said:

As much as I do not like Ristolainen's comments I watch the Sabres far more than most that have posted here.  Its not his damn fault that his plus minus rating is so bad.  The goalie has been horrible.  The forwards the same.  He has at times been frustrated and who wouldnt be.  Lets see how he does with a better skill set around him.  If he does stay.  He is not going anywhere for free.  If he leaves, its going to cost

 

While I think that good goaltending only ever helps, a gander at his numbers which aren't impacted by goalie quality is pretty eye-opening:

 

risto.jpg

 

 

His Entry Defense data shows that opposing forwards simply get way too much time and space, and are allowed to bring the puck into the Sabres zone with control, leading to more scoring chances against. He's playing too many high leverage minutes. That's not the goalie's fault. Comparing him to Dahlin is quite interesting:

 

dahlin.jpg

 

 

Massive up-arrows for Dahlin here. Generally speaking, defensemen develop by sundial, but (so far) he has a terrific grasp on breaking up the play and not allowing easy zone entry. He's really young, so I expect this to go up and down from time to time, but right now, this is a tremendous thing.

 

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59 minutes ago, JR Ewing said:

 

While I think that good goaltending only ever helps, a gander at his numbers which aren't impacted by goalie quality is pretty eye-opening:

 

risto.jpg

 

 

His Entry Defense data shows that opposing forwards simply get way too much time and space, and are allowed to bring the puck into the Sabres zone with control, leading to more scoring chances against. He's playing too many high leverage minutes. That's not the goalie's fault. Comparing him to Dahlin is quite interesting:

 

dahlin.jpg

 

 

Massive up-arrows for Dahlin here. Generally speaking, defensemen develop by sundial, but (so far) he has a terrific grasp on breaking up the play and not allowing easy zone entry. He's really young, so I expect this to go up and down from time to time, but right now, this is a tremendous thing.

 

He is the only one other than Begosian that can take guys out with authority.  I mean bury them.  And he can control the puck with the best of them in the offensive zone.  He has more offensive skill than most D men we have had .   I would say he is the most talented since Jay McKee. 

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11 minutes ago, Hockey Junkie said:

He is the only one other than Begosian that can take guys out with authority.  I mean bury them.  And he can control the puck with the best of them in the offensive zone.  He has more offensive skill than most D men we have had .   I would say he is the most talented since Jay McKee. 

 

Think of how much better it would be if Risto didn't give up the blueline so easily in the first place,  and wasn't having to "bury them" in the defensive zone. For several years now, in these conversations, I hear the voice of Dave Tippett in my head:

 

"We had a player that was supposed to be a great, shut-down defenseman. He was supposedly the be-all, end-all of defensemen. But when you did a 10-game analysis of him, you found out he was defending all the time because he can’t move the puck.

"Then we had another guy, who supposedly couldn’t defend a lick. Well, he was defending only 20 percent of the time because he’s making good plays out of our end. He may not be the strongest defender, but he’s only doing it 20 percent of the time. So the equation works out better the other way. I ended up trading the other defenseman."

-Dave Tippet

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Hockey Junkie said:

He is the only one other than Begosian that can take guys out with authority.  I mean bury them.  And he can control the puck with the best of them in the offensive zone.  He has more offensive skill than most D men we have had .   I would say he is the most talented since Jay McKee. 

 

I've learned several things on this board.  One of them is that it's never a winning proposition to argue with @JR Ewing's stats.  They're eye-opening.  They don't always match the eye-test going in, but suddenly after seeing the stats, the eye-test tends to conform.

 

10 hours ago, Hockey Junkie said:

 If he leaves, its going to cost

 

Undoubtedly.  He's not garbage, for sure.  Far from it.  And the cap hit and term aren't horrible.  Some GM--at the advice of his coach who thinks he can "coach him up"--will pay a pretty penny.  I'd be calling Montreal.  Marc Bergevin hasn't made a brain dead move yet this off-season and is probably itching.   I kid about the brain dead.  It really is possible that given the right situation that we've only seen a portion of what Risto can do.   I think the Sabres are actually developing that way, but it doesn't sound like Risto will have the patience to wait it out.  

 

Yeah, Risto will and should cost another GM to get.

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9 hours ago, ruxpin said:

 

I've learned several things on this board.  One of them is that it's never a winning proposition to argue with @JR Ewing's stats.  They're eye-opening.  They don't always match the eye-test going in, but suddenly after seeing the stats, the eye-test tends to conform.

 

 

 

 

Agreed.
As long as @JR Ewing doesn't go around telling Wild fans what a mistake hiring Peter Chiarelli would be, all is well.

After all, Wild fans aren't sure they need that from an Oiler fan :ph34r:  :bigteeth:

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26
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On 8/12/2019 at 1:39 PM, JR Ewing said:

 

Think of how much better it would be if Risto didn't give up the blueline so easily in the first place,  and wasn't having to "bury them" in the defensive zone. For several years now, in these conversations, I hear the voice of Dave Tippett in my head:

 

 

 

Risto is only 24 and his shortcomings are mental, not physical.  

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19 hours ago, ruxpin said:

 

I've learned several things on this board.  One of them is that it's never a winning proposition to argue with @JR Ewing's stats.  They're eye-opening.  They don't always match the eye-test going in, but suddenly after seeing the stats, the eye-test tends to conform.

 

 

Undoubtedly.  He's not garbage, for sure.  Far from it.  And the cap hit and term aren't horrible.  Some GM--at the advice of his coach who thinks he can "coach him up"--will pay a pretty penny.  I'd be calling Montreal.  Marc Bergevin hasn't made a brain dead move yet this off-season and is probably itching.   I kid about the brain dead.  It really is possible that given the right situation that we've only seen a portion of what Risto can do.   I think the Sabres are actually developing that way, but it doesn't sound like Risto will have the patience to wait it out.  

 

Yeah, Risto will and should cost another GM to get.

It does not look like he will be traded before the season starts?   I could be wrong, but some believe it could happen during the season?  Or not at all.  Perhaps he will like this guy, the new coach and will respond well?  I think our bigger worries are really on offense and in the nets.  They cant get Luukennen in net fast enough.  And that sounds like the long term plan.  Luukennen.  Have no clue how to spell his name and it really does not matter.  Not unless he turns into Hasek or Miller

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1 hour ago, Hockey Junkie said:

Risto is only 24 and his shortcomings are mental, not physical.  

 

Glad to see we finally see eye to eye on something.

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26

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4 hours ago, Hockey Junkie said:

Risto is only 24 and his shortcomings are mental, not physical.  

He PHYSICALLY turns the puck over...an awful lot.

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Good graphic, JR. He would be quite good, if he would improve defensively. It is a little staggering just how far he has to go on his point entries allowed and possession exits, but right now Dahlin is obviously light years ahead of Ristolainen.

Edited by FD19372
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8 minutes ago, Hockey Junkie said:

Hutton played like a bum.  I think some guys just got tired of it.

 

Just so we have this straight...

 

Hutton played like a bum, some of the guy grew tired of it... So, Risto's give a sh|t cratered, and he just said "Here you go" and allowed opposing forwards to gain way too much easy control into the Sabres zone. Once the puck was in there though, he once again gave a rat's ass, fought hard to get in shooting lanes, blocked a lot shots, and then buried forwards with big hits.

 

Preposterous notion.

 

The most likely scenario is that Risto isn't good at defending the blueline, and opposing teams get far too many easy controlled entries. Good bat, but the glove needs a lot of work, and he shouldn't be getting so many minutes against top-level competition. The Sabres would be far better off running him against the soft parade, and allowing him to crush that opposition.

 

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6 hours ago, JR Ewing said:

 

Just so we have this straight...

 

Hutton played like a bum, some of the guy grew tired of it... So, Risto's give a sh|t cratered, and he just said "Here you go" and allowed opposing forwards to gain way too much easy control into the Sabres zone. Once the puck was in there though, he once again gave a rat's ass, fought hard to get in shooting lanes, blocked a lot shots, and then buried forwards with big hits.

 

Preposterous notion.

 

The most likely scenario is that Risto isn't good at defending the blueline, and opposing teams get far too many easy controlled entries. Good bat, but the glove needs a lot of work, and he shouldn't be getting so many minutes against top-level competition. The Sabres would be far better off running him against the soft parade, and allowing him to crush that opposition.

 

What a waste of a perfectly well-reasoned argument. 

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      Just so we have this straight...   Hutton played like a bum, some of the guy grew tired of it... So, Risto's give a sh|t cratered, and he just said "Here you go" and allowed opposing forwards to gain way too much easy control into the Sabres zone. Once the puck was in there though, he once again gave a rat's ass, fought hard to get in shooting lanes, blocked a lot shots, and then buried forwards with big hits.   Preposterous notion.   The most likely scenario is tha
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      A couple things bother me here: "I haven't been able to help the team win".... he was quoted. Ok...it's called a rebuild, with a bunch of young players and still weeding out veterans who aren't in the long term plans. He is NOT the only one who 'couldn't help the team win'.....it's an entire process. So...is that cause for him to want to go elsewhere? Leave because things are tough right now and not wanting to be part of the solution? Also... The media HAS been speculating on whether he
    • 2
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      Players like Ristolainen highlight the biggest inefficiency in the NHL.   1) Players get paid for points. 2) Many players who get points contribute to their teams being outscored despite their point totals.   Finding the players who help the goal share while not getting enough points to move the salary dial is the golden ticket when filling out the roster. At this stage of the game, Risto is absolutely not that type of guy. Gets a lot of points, spends a lot of time picking
    • 2
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      I've learned several things on this board.  One of them is that it's never a winning proposition to argue with @JR Ewing's stats.  They're eye-opening.  They don't always match the eye-test going in, but suddenly after seeing the stats, the eye-test tends to conform.     Undoubtedly.  He's not garbage, for sure.  Far from it.  And the cap hit and term aren't horrible.  Some GM--at the advice of his coach who thinks he can "coach him up"--will pay a pretty penny.  I'd be calling
    • 2
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      What a waste of a perfectly well-reasoned argument. 
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      The drama surrounding the future of Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen took another turn when he implied that he has asked to be traded Hidden Content Give reaction or reply to this topic to see the hidden content. .   According to a translation of the interview, Ristolainen said he wanted to keep the discussions with Sabres' management private. Ristolainen's future has been a question, especially as the Sabres have added an
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