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Sabres first-rounder Ristolainen says it’s NHL or Finland in 2013-14

Jul 10, 2013, 8:36 PM EDT

rasmusristogetty Getty Images

The Buffalo Sabres might not have as much control over the development of first-round pick Rasmus Ristolainen as they expected, according to the Buffalo News.

The team seemed to be under the impression that the eighth overall selection of the 2013 NHL Draft was no longer under contract in Finland, opening up the option to either develop him in the AHL with the Rochester Americans or allow him to make an immediate jump to Buffalo. The 18-year-old indicates that isn’t the case, however.

“I think no,” Ristolainen said at development camp  on Wednesday. “I’ve got a contract with my hometown team.”

So, instead, it appears that he can play for TPS Turko in Finland for a third consecutive season if the Sabres decide he’s not ready for the NHL.

That’s a disappointment, as it would be surprising to see him advance so quickly, but this is dilemma is fairly common regarding European prospects.

  1. kgun80 - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    Soo we passed on Nichushkin because there were concerns he would go to the KHL? Oh Darcy… You stepped in it again.

    • bullwinkle88 - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      EXACTLY!!! I knew they should have taken Nichushkin. They will regret this decision.

    • hockey412 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:48 AM

      But isn’t this saying more about the outlook on the AHL by these younger players? What I’m reading is if he’s going to make the club, ok, but he’s not wanting to develop in the minor leagues on a two-way contract making very little when he can do so at home making more.

      It’s possible if this happens enough that we could see some shifting of the pay rates in the AHL, or some other incentives buried in contracts to keep them in the AHL. As of now, there’s nothing. I’d love to see kids sign with teams with the intention of playing in the AHL, but when you look at where they get the better deal, it’s tough to blame them.

  2. pensman29 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    Ahh the ever present threat of players going to Finland

  3. chazxcore - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Talk about a team player. Taking his puck and going home.

  4. sergeikremlin - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Ristolainen has worked his way up TPS’ ranks ever since 2008, he’s finally become a big part of their main club, and now that he has been drafted he is supposed to bolt to America to develop, because the SM-liiga isn’t good enough all of a sudden? It’s the league that got him to 8th overall in the draft, and lets not forget the basic fact that Finland is his home, so maybe the 18-year old wants to live there for another year if hes not going to be in the NHL. Fellow Sabres pick Joel Armia did the same thing, as did Mikael Granlund, and many others. Rarely do you see a Fin go from the draft straight to the AHL or NHL.

  5. uscthom78 - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    rasmus is finnished.

  6. 19to77 - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Oh, Darcy Regier. I don’t know what I’d do for NHL-related laughs if not for your comedy reel of bad decisions.

    Well, other than check up on what Feaster and Holmgren have done lately.

  7. mclovinhockey - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    Puck you Jeniferjim. Get your spamming ass off this site

  8. cincycbjfan - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Are they sure he isn’t Russian?

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