The Philadelphia Flyers are very much in need of new blood, and the arrival of Rasmus Ristolainen certainly adds that. the player has signed a five-year, $25.5m contract with the Flyers this week and will join with the team ASAP. At 27 years old, the Flyers have managed to tie down a high-class player in his prime to a very good contract.
Having likely become an unrestricted free agent after this season, the Buffalo Sabres have decided to make the decision now. They have moved on from the player, and the Flyers have picked up a highly rated defenseman to help them with a problem position within the team.
When asked about his decision to go to the Flyers, Ristolainen said: “It’s good to get it done as early as possible. I feel like I was pretty confident I wanted to stay, they wanted me to stay. So it’s good to be in Philly.”
On the chance to paly in Philadelphia, one of the most sports-made cities in North America regarded for their fanbases, he added: “I love this city. I love the fan base; very, very passionate. And I love my teammates. I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I believe we can turn it around here real quick.”
With 14 points in 50 games this season, the defender has become a key extra offensive outlet whilst providing top class defending at the back. With 182 hits and 92 blocked shots, he is seen as the ideal addition to a Flyers team that has been a little soft defensively for some time.
A ‘competitor’ who helps to solve a key team problem
The player arrives as part of a new-look team, and arrives having passed up the chance to become a free agent for the first time in his NHL career. The Flyers coach, Mike Yeo, was delighted with the addition to the team, adding: “He’s a competitor. Night in and night out he’s going to play hard in front of his own net. He’s a guy that the other team, they might think twice before they park themselves in front of our goalies. That’s important for our goalies to be able to see the puck, take away second chances. He’s a guy that shows up and plays night after night.”
Having praised his consistency and his ability to get things done in the game, Yeo added: “He’s a very proud, committed player. He loves winning, he loves competing, and he’s got ability to go along with that. Those are the kind of guys you want to have around here.”
With an 18-29-10 record, the Flyers sit bottom of the Metropolitan Division and need to find form fast to avoid a wasted season. Adding a hard-nosed defence-minded player to the squad should help a lot with cutting out the losses. For both player and club, then, this looks like the ideal next step to help turn things around on the ice.