Mark Konezny - USA TODAY Sports
NHL

Trade Analysis: Philadelphia Flyers Acquire Rasmus Ristolainen from Buffalo Sabres in baffling trade

The Philadelphia Flyers entered the off-season with a singular goal -- to improve their blue line. Despite the fact that their sudden collapse this season came mostly as a result of unexpectedly awful goaltending, with the team invested in Carter Hart as their goalie of the future it made a lot more sense to focus on upgrading the defence in front of him to make his life easier.

Last week, they did exactly that, acquiring veteran Ryan Ellis from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a package involving Philippe Myers, a clear improvement that left them in a pretty good spot moving forward if they decided to stand pat after that.

But Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher kept working the phones, culminating in a baffling duo of transactions on Thursday and Friday that, combined, constitute an absurd overpayment in service of quite possibly making his team a lot worse. On Thursday, former Calder nominee Shayne Gostisbehere, an offensive defenceman reliable found around a 40-point pace throughout his career, was sent to the Arizona Coyotes in a cap dump, accompanied by a second-round pick and a seventh-round pick in exchange for nothing. His $4.5-million cap hit was off their books, which allowed the Flyers to fill his spot on the blue line on Friday with Rasmus Ristolainen of the Buffalo Sabres.

In exchange for Ristolainen, the Flyers sent Buffalo the 13th overall pick in tonight’s entry draft, another second-round pick, and depth defenceman Robert Hägg, a player who may not be an NHL calibre defenceman but at least makes very little money.

Ultimately, the two-day haul amounts to:

  • Out: Gostisbehere, Hägg, a 2021 first-round pick (13th overall), a 2022 second-round pick, a 2023 second-round pick, 2022 seventh-round pick

  • In: Ristolainen

Yesterday, J.D. Burke broke down the Gostisbehere transaction and what he brings to the table, so let’s focus on Ristolainen, Philadelphia’s big prize and a player who has been notorious within hockey analytics circles for years.

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This article is about:
NHL Buffalo Sabres Philadelphia Flyers NHL Shayne Gostisbehere Robert Hägg Rasmus Ristolainen Chuck Fletcher
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