EDMONTON OILERS AND TRADING FOR RASMUS RISTOLAINEN | Oilersnetwork.com - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours


The Buffalo Sabres are always an interesting team to watch. And, when I say interesting, I don't necessarily mean on the ice. Season after season, Buffalo is one of the busiest teams in the NHL during the summer. They overspend on players, they dump contracts, they make splashes and like they are doing with Rasmus Ristolainen, they leave real talent out on a limb.

Rasmus Ristolainen Photo By Lisa Gansky

Part of what is starting to make the Sabres a more entertaining team to watch on the ice is their youth movement. Jack Eichel is the real thing and players like Ristolainen have come on strong as viable defensive talent only scratching the surface of his ability. Signing Eichel will be a no-brainer, so why is Ristolainen taking so long?

Who is Ristolainen

As one of Buffalo's restricted free agents, the Sabres have extended a qualifying offer to Ristolainen, but the 21-year-old has yet to sign it. A 25-minute per game player, Ristolainen played both power play and shorthanded minutes scoring 41 points last season. He was a not great in plus/minus with a minus-21 rating, but he's trending upward and looking at a six-year, Seth Jones type contract; somewhere in the ballpark of $5.2-$5.5 million per year.

Buffalo has the cap space to make this happen, so why are they waiting? It looks like the Sabres are trying to low-ball the player, offering fewer minutes and since Ristolainen's camp has gone on record that they won't extend during the World Cup of Hockey; when he gets signed, it will likely be after the World Cup. Is there an opportunity there?

Checking the Boxes

Ristolainen is a right-shooting, right-side defenseman, he's a heavy load at 6 foot 4 inches and 217 pounds and is Buffalo's number one option on defense. It would be crazy the think they'd consider trading him, but the Oilers sure could use a player of his ability and he fills an immediate hole.

If Buffalo would even contemplate a trade, what would the Oilers not be willing to move? Perhaps only Oscar Klefbom or Adam Larsson who are pencilled in as Edmonton first-unit pairing. Everything else from the Oilers blueline should be considered.

What it Would Take

I'm going on record to say that I think his deal with the Sabres gets done. That said, if Buffalo called and I was the Oilers GM, I would have to start with Darnell Nurse, another roster player and perhaps a prospect to get the Sabres attention.

The Sabres would want a potential replacement blueliner and while Nurse plays the left, Buffalo isn't deep there. Dmitry Kulikov is pretty much it for lefties and Nurse could slot in at the number two left spot. I'd have to offer more value.

Behind Kyle Okposo on the right, the Sabres are also not as deep at right wing. That being noted, the Oilers don't have much beyond Nail Yakupov to give and I don't think Yakupov and Nurse get it done. It may require a contract for contract type swap, helping the Sabres move a bad contract from their books (they always seem to have at least one).

Does Nurse, Yakupov and a 1st or 2nd round draft pick get it done? I'm not sure even that would do it, but Buffalo has been on the losing end of trades in the past and as Dustin Neilson points out, there is always a potential offer sheet play. Perhaps the Oilers make a call and see if they avoid getting hung up on.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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  1. Love your opinion. But Nurse and Klefblom would be the untouchables on the LHD side. I take Ristolainen and Kane of your hands for Eberle, Reinhardt next years 1st.

    1. I agree. I wouldn't trade Klefbom. I would trade Nurse however. I'm not sure I'd want Kane though. Good player, just too many questions.

    2. I don't want kane. But I would have him exposed to the draft if he doesn't shape up or if incarcerated. I just want Ristolainen on the cheap.