According to a report out of Finland today (via Iltasanomat.fi), Buffalo Sabres restricted free agent defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen doesn’t expect to sign his new contract until after the World Cup of Hockey concludes.
(With the help of an online translation site) “I do not believe that the agreement generated before the World Cup. I have not heard any moment. The situation is at a standstill. However, both parties have a common desire to continue, but we have not been in the context of the moment. All will be resolved in time. Time is very well, so I’m not worried,” –Rasmus Ristolainen
He continues to focus on training for Team Finland in the World Cup of Hockey and is not worried about signing a new contract. Like Ristolainen, restricted free agents Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary), Hampus Lindholm (Anaheim), Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg), and Nikita Kucherov (Tampa) will all be covered by supplemental insurance during the tourney by the NHL and NHLPA, despite their contract status.
With a standard $925K AAV last year, Ristolainen is set for a hefty raise. He’ll likely get in the neighborhood of $5M-$6M for 5 or 6 years, making him the highest paid Finn defenseman in the NHL.
He anchored the Sabres’ top D pairing last season, playing in all 82 games. Risto posted 9 goals and 32 assists while logging a whopping 25+ minutes per game.
Ristolainen said several times last season he likes playing for Head Coach Dan Bylsma and Defensive Coach Terry Murray. That’s good news as the team is on the rise and Ristolainen is a big part of that transformation.