The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of seven staff writers and over 250 fans that ranked players under the age of 25 as of July 15th, 2020. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player. This is our 2020 pre-draft rankings.
Arttu Ruotsalainen had a great season with Ilves, as the Buffalo Sabres loaned their prospect back to his team overseas for the 2019-20 season.
Ruotsalainen put up a career-best 43 points despite appearing in just 44 games. He scored 15 goals and added 28 assists to average nearly a point-per-game.
It was unfortunate that Ruotsalainen didn’t find himself with a roster spot in Buffalo this season, but with the way the NHL season went - and its abrupt end - perhaps it’s for the best. Rochester wasn’t an option, so his playing in Finland and having a strong season there is probably the best possible outcome for him and the Sabres organization from this season.
This summer, the 22-year-old played in a series in northern Finland, alongside some other familiar names like Jesse Puljujarvi.
Some familiar names playing the ice-hockey summer series in northern Finland. Jesse Puljujärvi dominating the contest series after 4gp with 18g+12a. Arttu Ruotsalainen after 4gp with 11g+6a. Janne Kuokkanen after 4gp with 6g+5a. pic.twitter.com/CXHtQN4gST— Mari Lönnberg (@LonnbergMari) June 27, 2020
Last summer, Ruotsalainen was ranked #15th in the Top 25 Under 25. I said it then, and I’ll say it again now: he’s still a bit of a wildcard. Until he makes his North American debut, it’s hard to say just what to expect as his game transitions to this style of play. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to see him play stateside this season, and at this point, who knows what’s coming in the hockey world and for Ruotsalainen?
At any rate, he continues to look like an exciting prospect with a potentially bright future ahead. His clips are fun to watch, and his skill is easily identified. The Sabres originally signed Ruotsalainen to a three-year, entry-level contract in May 2019.