BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – For years now Rasmus Ristolainen’s name has come up in trade rumors and now those rumors are a reality as the Sabres traded the 2013 eighth overall pick to the Flyers ahead of the NHL draft.
In exchange, the Sabres acquired defenseman Robert Hagg, a first-round pick in this year’s draft (14th overall) and a second-round pick in 2023.
This move comes as no surprise as Ristolainen has expressed his frustration with losing and not making the playoffs in Buffalo as he’s spent his entire career up to this point with the Sabres.
At the team’s virtual locker cleanout in May, Ristolainen said he was “open to all scenarios” when it comes to his future here.
“Like I told Kevyn [Adams] a little while ago I just said I’m open for all the ideas. Right now I mean it’s hard obviously the season just ended so yeah I’m frustrated, I’m pissed and it sucks so I told him I’m open for all the scenarios staying or if he trades me I’m fine with that too,” Ristolainen said in May.
Ristolainen has played 542 regular season games but never gotten close to appearing in a postseason game during his career with the Sabres as this organization has now missed the playoffs for ten straight seasons. He is now entering the last year of his six-year, $32.4 million deal that carries with it a $5.4 million cap hit
During his pre-draft press conference on Thursday, Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said he’d like to get another first-round pick but that’s not necessarily what they were focused on.
“If it’s the right deal that we think makes sense for us as we look to build around a young core of players then we would do that but it has to be the right thing for us,” Adams explained on Thursday.
“It’s not something we’re just gonna do to do it. We have to look each other in the eye and say this is the best thing for the Buffalo Sabres.”
He also said they are “willing to listen to every possible thing that’s going to get our franchise pointing in the right direction” when it comes to making deals. Even though he would not discuss any trade scenarios or specific players on Thursday, all eyes are still on Jack Eichel as he remains the biggest question mark when it comes to possible deals Buffalo could make.