Sabres trade Ristolainen to Flyers for package including Hagg, 1st-rounder
Ristolainen played eight seasons with the Sabres, who drafted him eighth overall in 2013. The Finnish rearguard, who'll turn 27 in October, averaged 23:53 of ice time during his Buffalo career, though he fell below that mark in each of his last two campaigns.
The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder's average time on ice increased from 20:37 in his first full season (2014-15) to 25:17 in the following campaign. He then played over 26 minutes per game in each of the next two seasons before seeing that diminish in each of the last three.
Though Ristolainen did much of his damage on the power play, he topped 40 points in four straight seasons from 2015-16 to 2018-19. However, his defensive play and overall underlying numbers often left something to be desired. Ristolainen posted a subpar 43.71 expected goals for percentage at five-on-five in 2021, according to Natural Stat Trick.
Ristolainen is signed through 2021-22 at a cap hit of $5.4 million, according to CapFriendly. Hagg is also on the books through next season but his cap hit is only $1.6 million.
Buffalo's new first-rounder will be the 13th name called Friday night, as the Arizona Coyotes forfeited the 11th selection for violating the NHL's combine testing policy. The Sabres also hold the No. 1 pick.