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Sabres Sign Rasmus Ristolainen To Entry-Level Contract

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The Buffalo Sabres first selection in the 2013 NHL Draft has signed his ELC, according to the team's Twitter account. The language of the contract allows him to play for the Amerks or Sabres next year.

Bruce Bennett

Development Camp may have ended a few hours ago for the Buffalo Sabres, but the team's work on their prospects didn't end with the Blue & Gold Scrimmage.

The Sabres announced just before 9pm on Friday that they've signed defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to his entry level contract. Ristolainen was taken #8 overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, and is the first 2013 draft pick to sign with Buffalo.

Ristolainen was expected to have the quickest path to the NHL, having gotten enough experience playing against grown professionals over in Europe for the past few seasons, but he raised some eyebrows earlier in the prospect camp when he said he would prefer to head back to his home in Finland and play in Europe again should he not make the NHL, rather than play in Rochester in the AHL.

Regier addressed those concerns today, saying that it would all depend on the language of his NHL contract, citing Joel Armia as a player that the Sabres allowed to return to Europe for more seasoning. However, the terms of the contract have not been announced as of this writing, so we don't know how that situation will play out.

UPDATE: Per Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Ristolainen's contract does allow him to play in Rochester next season.

Ristolainen impressed with his smooth skating, smart play and cannon of a shot at camp. What becomes of him next season, however, is still unknown.