The Philadelphia Flyers have agreed to terms with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen. Once thought to be among lead trade candidates is staying in Philly for five more years. The AAV is $5 Million.
Still work being done between agent and team finalizing the Ristolainen extension in Philadelphia. 5 years at $5 mil believed to be the terms.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 10, 2022
Philadelphia Flyers Sign Rasmus Ristolainen
The Flyers completed this signing ahead of the 2022 trade deadline, a somewhat surprising move considering their status as “sellers” this year. Ristolainen carries a $5.4 million cap hit this season and now slightly less next year. The 27-year-old spent his entire NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres prior to 2021-22. Philadelphia acquired him this summer in exchange for a 2021 first-round pick (Isak Rosen), Robert Hagg, and a second-round pick in 2023.
Ristolainen is a rugged, hardnosed defenceman and former first-round pick from 2013. This season, he scored two goals and 11 assists for 13 points, adding 26 minutes in penalties. Teams don’t acquire players like Ristolainen to put up points, though, and his possession numbers further illustrate just that. His 44.9 percent Corsi and relative Corsi of -4.0 aren’t exactly head-turners. However, a lot of that comes from the fact that he starts 57.1% of his shifts in the defensive zone.
Over his nine-year career, there was one season in which over 50% of his zone starts came in the offensive zone. Unsurprisingly, that year also marked the best possession metrics of his career. He earned a modest 50.3 percent Corsi and relative Corsi of 3.1 that season, back in 2017-18. The only statistics he piles up are hits and blocked shots (146 and 71, respectively). Basically, teams know exactly what the 6’4, 220-pound Ristolainen brings to the table.
What This Means for the Future
For the Flyers, the signing may have just doubled-down following what they should absolutely consider a failed move last summer to acquire Ristolainen. The team did not experience the bounce-back season they hoped for. The players acquired contributed as much if not less than the players dealt away.
All in all, 2021-22 saw the Flyers cement their place at the bottom of the league. By re-signing Ristolainen, Philadelphia seems to be refusing to move on from the poor decisions of the last calendar year. However, other moves may still be made.