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Trade Alert: Goodbye Rasmus Ristolainen

One of three left from Darcy Regier’s final draft, Rasmus Ristolainen has been traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. The only defenseman to play in more games from the 2013 draft is Seth Jones. Supposed to be one of the building blocks of the future, with #16 overall Nikita Zadorov, half the fanbase will surely miss a defenseman they see as reminiscent of the physical players of yester-year and pivotal to playoff success. The other half is happily dancing on his analytics-grave.

No matter what side you’re on, Ristolainen has been a consumate professional for the Buffalo Sabres. Showing up every season, every game, ready to play and improve himself while playing high 20 minutes for almost his entire tenure. Counted on too young and way too strongly, Ristolainen never complained or begged for a trade out of this decade of dumpster fires. He wasn’t able to inspire his teammates to “mother fuck” themselves into competence, but has gotten his wish granted of going to a playoff contender.

Second year general manager Kevyn Adams has maintained his position as a general manager who cares about sending players off happy. Last year with Eric Staal and Taylor Hall, and now Ristolainen. Rasmus is going to a situation in Philly that he never had here, a team stacked with forwards and plenty of defenseman. Whether or not you always thought he stunk or always thought he was getting unfair treatment, his environment has significantly improved to make that doubt a little more clear, if you still care. I don’t care too much about that anymore, I’m just hoping a player who never won in Liiga, the AHL and the NHL, finally has a chance to play meaningful games into late spring.

Moving on from Rasmus, what a haul! Reportedly, the Buffao Sabres are receiving 26 year old Robert Hägg . On an expiring contract at a cheap 1.6 million cap hit, Hägg has played in 236 games so far in his career. After this season, Hägg becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Here’s a scouting report on his play style, back in his draft year:

“Hagg is a really gifted defenseman who progressed as the season went on, going from the junior league to playing in the SEL although his performance was up and down throughout the campaign. Hagg has a real easiness to his game. He is a high-end skater, possessing an effortless stride and quick acceleration. He appears to glide when he is on the ice, with a high amount of offensive ability. He makes quality rushes, and he displays great puck movement in every zone. He is not a flashy puck handler, but he has good subtle hands, with the ability to make open ice maneuvers. He has a big shot from the point, and several NHL sources indicate that he frequently relies on that asset. Scouts are divided on Hagg’s defensive play. One thinks it is his best asset, while another calls him a very well-rounded player, and yet others say his defense needs work. From my assessment, I do not think he is an exceptional defensive player. He is quality in his own end, but he does make the odd bad decision here and there. Still, there is a lot to like about Hagg. He has a great hockey brain, mobility, and solid physicality. – Hockey Prospectus” (pull quote feature stinks!)

We’ll have to see if he’s a long term piece or just another asset to move at the deadline, but could be an option to help out Dahlin on the left side if Kevyn isn’t too sure of McCabe resigning. But Wait! There’s more. We have also received the 14th (13th pick because of Arizona’s forfeiture) in tonight’s draft as well as a 2nd rounder in 2023.

How great is this haul? Adams killed it. Happy day Sabre fans and Ristolainen fans and detractors. I think the Flyers should be happy, too. But we know how the numbers crowd is going to get that narrative out.

Happy with Ristolainen’s Trade Value?

Yes 1290
No 78
Too Early To Tell 171

Edit: Adding in the Sabres twitter send off