20 Prospects in 20 Days: Rasmus Ristolainen


Source: Roni Lehti

With only 9 days left until the first round of the NHL Draft in New Jersey, The PensNation will be breaking down a prospect each day until June 30th. Today, we will take a closer look at defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.

Source: SM-liiga

Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, TPS (FIN), 18 years old

Height: 6’3″, Weight:  201 pounds, Shoots: Right


NHL Central Scouting: 4th among International skaters
TSN: 25th among all players

2012-13 Stats: 52 games played, 3 goals, 12 assists, 15 points, -7, 32 penalty minutes


Source: Wikipedia

THE SCOOP: In addition to Aleksander Barkov, another player from Finland may be selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft. The other prospect’s name is defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who spent this past season with TPS in the SM-ligga. He notched 15 points in 52 games as an 18 year-old on the blue line. His numbers may seem all that great, but you must consider his age. Ristolainen made his SM-liiga debut when he was 16 years old. Clearly, this guy has talent. He is very calm with the puck in the offensive zone and can quarterback a power play very well. His shot from the point is very quick and effective. At 6’3″ weighing 201 pounds, not many people would expect Ristolainen to skate very well, but he actually does. I would not say he is an elite skater, but he definitely is good enough to play against star players in the NHL. The big defenseman is very physical and is not afraid to dish out big hits. His physicality is something that many teams will like. However, he does need to work on his defensive positioning because he does get out of position at times. Ristolainen said that he tries to play like Chris Pronger, which is a very good model considering how much success Pronger had in his career. I do not think Ristolainen will come close to what Pronger did in his career, but he should develop into a top defenseman that can play in any situation and log big minutes. Ed Miller from The Hockey Writers had this to say about Ristolainen: “He’s already built like an NHL defenseman and his size allows him the ability to throw his weight around, though he’s not a big time hitter by any means. He’s certainly not afraid to get physical in front of the net … The most appealing attribute of Ristolainen would have to be his ability to carry the puck, as he could very well be the best defenseman in the draft when it comes to puck movement … The disadvantage of his strong puck skills is that the Finnish youngster has a lack of defensive awareness. Ristolainen still needs a great deal of work when it comes to where he should be positioned on the ice, as well as where his opponent is often positioned.” Since Pronger’s days seem to be over in Philadelphia, the Flyers are one team to watch for Ristolainen. He would be a great fit there. The San Jose Sharks may also have interest in him with their aging defensemen. Regardless of where he is drafted, it will be a lot of fun to see how Ristolainen adjusts to life in the NHL.


Previously Seen in “20 Prospects in 20 Days”:

June 10, 2013: Bo Horvat
June 11, 2013: Aleksander Barkov
June 12, 2013: Zachary Fucale
June 13, 2013: Nikita Zadorov
June 14, 2013: Max Domi
June 15, 2013: Anthony Mantha
June 16, 2013: Hunter Shinkaruk
June 17, 2013: Elias Lindholm
June 18, 2013: Valeri Nichushkin
June 19, 2013: Sean Monahan
June 20, 2013: Alexander Wennberg

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