Just a week ago, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen implied that he might be better off on another NHL team in an interview with a Finnish newspaper. However, Sabres general manager Jason Botterill has made it clear that the franchise expects Ristolainen in training camp next month, according to Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington.
Botterill said while his discussion with Ristolainen are private, the team has worked hard to put the 24-year-old in the best situation possible for success in the future.
“We’re continuing to try to set this team up where we’re putting ’Risto’ in positions to have success,” Botterill said. “Yeah, he wants to win. We also want to put him in a situation where he plays very well, and that’s what we’ve tried to do with some of the acquisitions, add depth to our defense, add competition to our defense.”
The Sabres do have options in front of them as the team has an overload of defensemen on the right side and a dearth of scoring options on the forward lines, suggesting that a trade could solve problems for both the Sabres and Ristolainen, who finished the season with 43 points, but also with an NHL-worst minus-41 plus/minus.
- Boston Bruins President Cam Neely said that while Bruins forward David Pastrnak seemed to lose confidence late in the playoffs on their Stanley Cup Finals run, he isn’t worried that it will be a long-term issue, according to NBC Sports’ Joe Haggerty. Pastrnak, who still held the team lead tied for nine goals and 19 points in 24 playoff games, but wasn’t dominant in the playoffs like he was during the regular season. Neely believes that Pastrnak should only benefit from his struggles and become a better player. “Then you get to the conference final and the finals and it’s tough hockey out there,” said Neely. “I look at Pasta and he’s grown from the first playoff experience to this last one, and I expect even more growth out of him moving forward. I understand losing confidence, but I don’t understand losing confidence and not shooting. That’s what I’d talk to him about.”
- The Athletic’s Darren Haynes (subscription required) writes that while the Calgary Flames lost a lot when Juuso Valimaki was injured after tearing his ACL during offseason training, the team does have some young players who are ready to take that next step to fill in the holes that they lost. The scribe writes that Rasmus Andersson might be ready to move into a more permanent top-four role. Andersson started taking minutes away from veteran T.J. Brodie last year and even has seen some power play time. Youngster Oliver Kylington also has shown that he’s ready for a bigger NHL role despite some of his defensive deficiencies.