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The Rasmus Ristolainen Trade Has Predictably Failed For The Flyers

Rasmus Ristolainen
The Rasmus Ristolainen trade has predictably failed for the Flyers. Philadelphia went all in and it backfired big time. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Rasmus Ristolainen Trade Has Predictably Failed For The Flyers

I’m not sure any Flyers fan liked the idea of giving up the farm for Rasmus Ristolainen. Our resident Flyers guy sure as hell didn’t. Now that we’re in the middle stages of the 2021-22 season, it’s time to revisit the awful trade that predictably aged about as poorly as everyone anticipated.

Ristolainen, 27, was traded by the Sabres for Robert Hagg, a 2021 first round pick, and 2022 second round pick. Keep in mind, Ristolainen only had one season remaining on a contract he signed with Buffalo back in 2016 that carried an AAV of $5.4 million. Ristolainen was a pure one year rental with no guarantee he would be brought back.

Turns out, it feels foolish to even consider bringing him back? It’s sad to say that we kind of already knew this but Ristolainen frankly just isn’t that good. Use any stat or number you want. This was always a gross overpay. The year before the Sabres dealt him, Ristolainen was coming off an 18 point season.

I’m not sure how others viewed Ristolainen, but I’ve always got Mikhail Sergachev vibes. Big bodied defensemen who can skate. Comes with tantalizing offensive upside but it never seems to translate the way you think it does on the ice. The only difference is, Sergachev is way better and plays on a much better team.

The Flyers sit 15-24-8 and Ristolainen surely has not helped matters. An argument can be made that if Ryan Ellis is simply healthy, maybe Ristolainen puts together a better season. I’m just not sure it’s a reasonable excuse. Ristolainen was brought in to help solve the defensive woes in Philadelphia. An area that hasn’t been solved despite a strong bounceback season from Carter Hart.

The Corsi an Fenwick both sit below league average (47.4 & 47.8 respectively). Then again, he’s never been above 50 in either category for any given season so why should we be surprised? The shooting percentage sits at a paltry 3.3%. Which maybe is fine for a defensemen minus the fact that he’s not creating any offense. Just two goals and nine assists across 42 games isn’t cutting it. Those are Jeff Petry numbers

The Flyers offense is broken. So is the defense. Obviously, all of that doesn’t fall on Ristolainen. However, the Flyers have to face the sad reality. There is no other alternative at this point other than to take the L and move on. With Ristolainen expected to hit free agency this Summer, Philadelphia is best served trying to recoop some of those assets.

You can trade Ristolainen on name value alone. Re-signing him and doubling down doesn’t feel like the smarter alternative. Ristolainen currently has an expected goals rate of 49.7% (which is fine) when he’s on the ice. I’m not sure it matters. The Flyers are broken and he’s not a guy you’re going to miss either way. He’s a big body that can get in the way of some shots. Someone can use him. Take the L and move on.

This is a huge trade deadline coming up for the Flyers. They have already done too many things to screw this up to the point where they’re almost forced to deal franchise icon Claude Giroux. The decision to trade for Rasmus Ristolainen probably signaled what was going to be another downard spiral for the Flyers. The sad part is, we all knew it was coming.

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