2013 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #9 - Rasmus Ristolainen
One of the hardest spelling names in this year's NHL draft class, this Finnish defenseman has been playing for TPS over in the Finnish SM-Liiga, and is considered one of the top blueliners in the class of 2013.
Team: TPS (SM-Liiga)
Date of Birth: October 27, 1994
Place of Birth: Turku, Finland
Ht: 6' 3" Wt: 207 lbs.
2012-2013 Regular Season Stats:
Obviously, when you have a Finnish general manager and a Finnish prospect, it's tempting to say that this could be one of the guys that Jarmo has on his radar, especially if he should slip into the middle of the first round, but given his fourth overall ranking among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, it's fair to say everyone likely has their eye on the big guy. The top ranked European d-man, some scouts have said he brings a similar package to the game as Seth Jones, but it seems like he hasn't quite brought his game up to the same level - yet. A good transition player with great mobility, it'd be reasonable to think he could find his way into a team's top four d-men once he's developed a bit more.
One of the best defensemen of his age group, Ristolainen is a top-prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft. He is a calm player with good two-way ability and a mature style of play, though his defensive awareness still needs work. Ristolainen moves the puck with confidence and though he's not a big-time hitter, he plays the body and likes to get physical in front of the net. He also has good mobility. Ristolainen has an excellent frame and has gained a lot of strength while playing in SM-liiga. He is good with the puck and solid defensively, but has also displayed ability to work the powerplay. (Matias Strozyk, Eliteprospects.com)
He plays very mature for his late '94 birthdate as he knows how to turn the play up ice quickly by making the outlet pass or carrying the biscuit himself. He plays a very strong defensive game by utilizing his strength, positioning, and long reach to cut opposition's opportunities down. Ristolainen showed some nice vision as he created scoring chances with some beautiful feeds and also unleashed his bomb from the point a handful of times at the NJEC. He will certainly draw much attention in Ufa, Russia this winter and looks to be a solid first rounder come June. (Russ Bitely, My NHL Draft.com)
Why He'd Be A Good Fit In Columbus:
Aside from the Finnish connection, Ristolainen is a big d-man with the skills package to run the power play, shut down a top line, and move the puck swiftly and surely. He's a Swiss Army Knife, able to play in just about any role, and he's spent the past two years in the SM-Liiga playing against adult, if not NHL level, opposition. Columbus has made their defensive depth a real strength, and Ristolainen would be a wonderful addition to that trend.
Ristolainen In Action: