Total Season Stats: 78 GP | 5 G | 38 A | 43 PTS
Contract Status: Under contract until 2022-23 (UFA)
For the fourth straight season, Rasmus Ristolainen tallied 40+ points. For some defenseman, that would be considered a good campaign. For Ristolainen, it seems like a smokescreen.
Ristolainen’s play has been much-maligned throughout the last handful of years and this past season is no different.
Expected to be the Sabres number one defenseman, Ristolainen logged number one defenseman minutes at 24:38 time-on-ice per game.
When you peel back the statistics though, things turn sour very quickly.
On the surface, we know that plus / minus has become an antiquated statistic but there is something to be said about the Sabres highest minute-logging defenseman finishing the season out with a gaudy -41 plus / minus.
The “fancy stats” do not do much of a favor for Ristolainen either.
While we see that Ristolainen is not the worst of the Sabres defensemen (hello, Marco Scandella) but clearly, this is not the performance you need from the aforementioned number one defenseman.
Ristolainen’s future in Buffalo is set, thanks in part to a contract that keeps him around until 2022-23. With that being said, his contract status might make him more attractive to other organizations.
Jason Botterill has reportedly been investigating the growing interest in Ristolainen but also trying to do his due diligence into how the Sabres can improve Ristolainen’s overall play.
This past season, Ristolainen logged his 400th career NHL game and he is still only 24 years old.
Ristolainen’s status will remain one of the hottest topics over this offseason, whether or not he remains with the organization.
Season Grade: C-
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