The Buffalo Sabres have traded defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Robert Hagg, a first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in the 2023 Draft. The first-round pick is 13th overall this year.
We have acquired defenseman Robert Hagg, a first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (14th overall), and a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft from the @NHLFlyers in exchange for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) July 23, 2021
The Rasmus Ristolainen Trade Rumours Come to an End
Ristolainen has been a name involved in trade rumours for a while now. The 26-year-old defenceman has been a good offensive player for the Sabres. However, his defensive game has gotten worse with time. Of course, during the eight years he has been with the team, Ristolainen was a great teammate. But that’s not close to enough when you’re a team like the Sabres. He’s a player that can use a fresh start.
In the 2020-21 season, Ristolainen had four goals and 18 points in 49 games. He was one of the Buffalo players who contracted COVID in late February and got the worst of it. Even though he recovered well, the 26-year-old had to stay away from the ice for nearly a month before getting back to the team. The defenceman was the eighth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft by the Sabres.
The return for Ristolainen is higher than most people were expecting it to be, especially considering how much worse he has gotten throughout the years. However, the Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams can celebrate this one. This is the first Buffalo player to find a new home this off-season and they now have two draft picks in the top 15.
What This Means For The Future
In return for Ristolainen, Buffalo got Robert Hagg, a 26-year-old defenceman drafted 41st overall in 2013 by the Flyers. He isn’t an upgrade on Ristolainen by any means but he isn’t the big focus in this trade. Buffalo is currently trying to rebuild their team and Ristolainen was a big contract with no return – even if he only has one year left before becoming a UFA. While the former Sabre had a $5.4 million contract, Hagg has a $1.6 million cap hit, which makes things a lot easier for Buffalo. Adams can go after some names in the free agency and sign the players who are in need of a contract more comfortably.
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