Dec 4, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Buffalo Sabres defensemanRasmus Ristolainen
(55) shoots against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres
Some would argue that the Sabres reached just slightly when they drafted Ristolainen with 8th overall pick in 2013.
The Finish defenseman was praised for his strong two-way game coming out of Turku TPS.
In my opinion, Ristolainen may have been rushed to the NHL. At the age of 18, he played 34 NHL games and struggled at time, tallying just 4 points in those games and posting a -15 plus/minus rating late season.
This year, he has put up 7 points in 37 games, but his plus/minus is slightly worse at -19. The plus/minus rating that the young defenseman has put up in his first 2 years is pretty bad, but the bad team around him is part of the reason for this.
Still just 20 years old, Ristolainen still has a lot of time to grow. The Sabres are a team that is just trying to grow together. They know that they aren’t a contender right now, but they have a plan in place for their future, which is encouraging.
Ristolainen, like Darnell Nurse, can be a good top-4 guy in the future for the Sabres, a team that needs the defensive help.
Next: 9th Overall: Vancouver Canucks