Chuck Fletcher bolsters his Top 4; Trades for 8th overall pick in 2013 draft, D Rasmus Ristolainen
Chuck is on a mission, huh? After wasting zero time after the roster freeze ended by sending Shayne Gostisbehere over to Arizona, Chuck Fletcher makes another huge splash by trading Robert Hagg, the 13th pick in tonight’s draft and a 2nd-round pick in 2023 for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.
Chuck Fletcher has essentially traded:
- Phil Myers ($2.25)
- Nolan Patrick (RFA)
- Shayne Gostisbehere ($4.5)
- 2022 2nd-round pick
- 2022 7th-round pick
- Robert Hagg ($1.6)
- 13th overall tonight
- 2023 2nd-round pick
- Ryan Ellis ($6.25)
- Rasmus Ristolainen ($5.4)
It’s been a really busy off-season for Chuck, I feel like the Flyers have been in every trade talk since the rumors started heating up a couple months ago. Seth Jones, Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen, I’ve even seen some reports saying the Flyers were still eying the Dougie Hamilton situation. But that’s all but over with the Flyers bringing in Rasmus and his $5.4 cap hit. It’s really easy to look at all the information above and automatically think that the Flyers grossly overpaid for Ellis and Ristolainen.
Let’s start with the Shayne Gostisbehere trade. Ghost had been on the trade block for what seemed like forever, everyone knew the Flyers were looking to trade him. Arizona had been keeping tabs on the situation since the beginning of last year, according to Chuck Fletcher. Some might question why Arizona didn’t just nab Ghost for free on the waiver wire last year. The truth is it’s hard to add a defenseman that makes $4.5 in the middle of the season. Now that it’s the off-season and teams are obviously more willing to move contracts, we started seeing the Ghost talk come back up. Gostisbehere finished the year tied for 7th in goals for a defenseman, proving to not only other people but himself, he can still contribute. In the end, the fact that he made $4.5 million a year, paired with Cam York (on a ELC deal) waiting in the wings prompted decision to move Ghost, a 2022 2nd-round pick and a 7th-round pick for cap relief.
I already talked about my thoughts on the Ryan Ellis trade here. Flyers got one of the best right-handed defenseman in the league for Nolan Patrick and Phil Myers. Yes, both young players can still turn into solid contributors for their respective teams but when you have a chance to add Ryan Ellis, you do it.
- Robert Hagg ($1.6)
- 13th overall pick
- 2023 2nd-round pick
I understand the initial knee-jerk reaction to giving up tonight’s 13th overall pick for a defenseman who was a -18 last season and has fans on both sides (Flyers and Buffalo) screaming about how he’s bad. Ristolainen has always been knowns as a tough, physical, 6’4, 220lb player that doesn’t take anything from anyone. He’s also known as a defenseman who sometimes looks lost in his own zone and I’d be lying if I said I don’t have some of the same worries.
I will say this though, Ristolainen was thrusted into a huge role that he wasn’t really ready for as a teenager. Some will argue that this messed with his overall development and I definitely think there’s some merit to that argument. Imagine getting thrown into a top-pair role with the Buffalo Sabres and told to be the man on a really bad team, yeah, I’m cool on that. Goalies are their own animal when it comes to development but defenseman are probably runner up when it comes to how hard it is to project their NHL careers. Chuck also brings up how he thinks the Flyers need to be more physical and tougher to play again and Risto definitely helps out in that department. I think Chuck is taking a gamble on Ristolainen and some of his worries attributing to playing on a really bad team, in a role he didn’t belong, for 6 different head coaches.
Now, a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, Ristolainen isn’t going to be asked to be “the man” in Philly.
Provorov – Ellis
Sanheim – Ristolainen
York – Braun
Ristolainen will be asked to play a more defensive role, most likely playing alongside RFA Travis Sanheim on the 2nd pair. Playing in this new role will hopefully be a better fit for Rasmus. Stay home, clear the front of the net, be physical down-low and don’t take anything from anyone. Sounds just like Rasmus Ristolainen’s kinda game. While having a more defensive partner for Sanheim, is awesome to get alongside getting Ellis. The idea of Sanheim and Ristolainen breaking the puck out of their zone, kinda scares me.
We all saw how Sanheim reacted to the relentless pressure the Islanders brought in the playoffs two years ago. Rasmus’ game isn’t really known for being great in his own zone either, so I’m excited to see if those are the pairs AV decides to go with. Speaking of AV, Chuck Fletcher during his press conference today around 4pm, mentioned how AV will be Rasmus’ 6th head coach in his career and he’s only 26 years old. Fletcher also mentioned how the stability around him added into the new, reduced role will hopefully have a positive impact on Rasmus.
Here’s to looking forward to the rest off the off-season and Day 2 of the draft tomorrow!
Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/Jeffery T. Barnes