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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.

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