With the eighth pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, the Buffalo Sabres selected defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen from TPS Turku of the Finnish Elite League.
The young Finnish defenseman put up a respectable 15 points in 52 games for TPS Turku last season. Like many of the defensemen in this year's draft, he's a huge guy, listed at 6'4, 207 pounds. One of the knocks against him is that he doesn't use his size quite enough, at least in terms of throwing out big hits.
Ristolainen is ranked No. 11 among all skaters by ISS. He's ranked fourth among all European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, and No. 25 among all prospects by TSN analyst Craig Button. ISS projects him to be a player comparable to Niklas Kronwall.
Rasmus Ristolainen is one of the top defensive prospects eligible for the 2013 NHL entry draft. Ristolainen is from Finland and has played his entire career in the Finnish league, SM-Liiga, and its junior counterparts. He has spent his time with the club TPS and has played most of his games with professionals in Finland's top league the past two seasons. He has played a bunch of games for Finland in international competition as well, from U16 up to U20 and World Juniors this past season.
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.
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