Philadelphia Flyers

Instant Analysis: Flyers make a shock trade for Rasmus Ristolainen

Image for Instant Analysis: Flyers make a shock trade for Rasmus Ristolainen

Taking the $4.5mil Chuck Fletcher saved by trading Shayne Gostisbehere to the Arizona Coyotes and investing in a time machine would have been better than his deal with the Buffalo Sabres for Rasmus Ristolainen.

Yesterday, Fletcher traded Gostisbehere, the 2022 second round, and 2022 seventh-round picks for nothing. Today, Fletcher sent the 2021 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, and Robert Hagg for Ristolainen. It’s debunked one clue regarding his press conferences. Fletcher is sharing one idea and executing the antithesis.

Remember, trading Gostisbehere was to be purely a “cap space move.” Following the creation of $4.5mil in cap space, Fletcher trades crucial draft capital and a seventh defenseman for a defenseman due $5.4mil. Gostisbehere was better than Ristolainen in just about every aspect last season.

Currently, the Philadelphia Flyers have $10mil in cap space available. Not bad at all in a financial aspect. The defense is hardly an upgrade from 2020-2021. In all reality, it could be worse than last season. The Flyers have been busy, but they aren’t making progress in strengthening their problem areas.

Yesterday featured enough negligence from Fletcher, not commanding a return for Gostisbehere. Today, Philadelphia paid a steep price for an expensive degrade. Over the last twenty-four hours, this fanbase should learn that doing nothing is sometimes better than doing something.

Why Ristolainen Is A Bad Fit

I’ll preface this by addressing the idea that some players find their footing elsewhere. That’s exactly how the Philadelphia Flyers sold Nolan Patrick.

Unfortunately, that premise of “a change of scenery” comes from a place of discontent. When a player no longer wants to be where they are, it makes sense to draw that narrative. Ristolainen mentioned that he wants to win “if it’s in Buffalo or somewhere else.” That’s different than hiring a new agent to work on a path out of a franchise.

There hasn’t been a season in his career that he finished with a plus rating. Jake McCabe and Brandon Montour have with the Buffalo Sabres. Rasmus Ristolainen notched a double-digit minus rating six times in his eight-year career.

Defensively, Ristolainen doesn’t offer the versatility to play on both sides of the ice efficiently. He’s going to play on the right side, and he’s likely a second or third pair defenseman. Standing back and allowing Shayne Gostisbehere to maintain his top-four placement would’ve been the right move. Justin Braun, in the twilight of his career, had comparable defensive metrics last season. The difference is Braun receives $1.8mil, not $5.4mil.

Sabres fans ought to have a parade in honor of the way they fleeced the Flyers.

Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire

Share this article

Eric is a University of Delaware graduate with a degree in English. While in school, he began writing for different publications such as The Highlight Network, Amps and Greenscreens, and he did color commentary for the University of Delaware Men's and Women's lacrosse teams throughout the 2013 season as an alumni. Prior to being featured with Philly Sports Network, he began a pro-wrestling podcast with a childhood friend called the Totally Over Podcast. As an avid sports die-hard for all things Philadelphia, Eric is also a proud supporter of West Virginia University.


  • The Philadelphia Flyers GM Fletcher Stated, “giving up this yrs 1st round 13th overall pick has to be for a really good player and a Flyer for the next few yrs. Hmm. Well, he is AN UFA after this season. And what if the Flyers fall apart again. He walks. Or he does resign for a multiple yr extension, and w/ his missing big chunks of games due to Upper and Lower body injuries over the past 4 seasons, will be another bad, Undeserving Contract the Flyers are stuck with.

  • Bob Davis says:

    The comment “The defense is hardly an upgrade from 2020-2021. In all reality, it could be worse than last season.” shows how much you actually know about defensive hockey. Did he overpay? Yes, but he is an upgrade over a guy that cleared waivers last year playing on his off-side. Fletcher overpaid because he checks all the boxes, RD, plays hard and fits in a flat cap. Get over Ghost, he’s not the player he was as a rookie and never will be.

  • Gary Vi says:

    No way are the flyers worse this year then last.
    Our defense is much more sound and put together right now and we didn’t give up any of our top prospects to make that happen.
    I have absolutely no idea why (besides your poorly thought out opinion) you’d assume we are worse than we were a week ago without losing anyone of value (ghost is not value for what this team needs)

  • Bib says:

    How aren’t the Flyers better defensively this year with Ellis alone? Doh doh. 😂

  • Spot on with everything except, “The defense is hardly an upgrade from 2020-2021. In all reality, it could be worse than last season.” It’s a pretty bug upgrade. Did you forget about getting Ryan Ellis. He’s a definite top 20 defenseman in the league.

  • Ass Hat says:

    It takes effort to be this clueless. You completely forgot to address the Ellis trade when making the statement that the defense could possibly be worse than last year. You know nothing about hockey. Another worthless hack of a blogger. Great job!!

  • Hdndnbxxnejskj says:

    Get bent

  • Cody S says:

    Who wrote this article? Cause not much intelligence, i know u gotta write something. Comparing to Ghost, lol ghost hasnt done anything in years, yeah he had a ‘decent’ last season but thats it, with all his injury problems snd total lack of consistency its a good thing hes gone. Plus Rasmus has only played in Buffalo and being nearly the worst yeam every sesson hes been there, yes his plus rating sucks but being in a more structured system with much better players, i woukd put money on it that his plus rating will get better. Hagg im also glad hes gone, gr hasnt done anything for Flyetd except take penalties. Only thing i dont like is the extra 2nd round 2023 pick. Plus he might get less money on next contract, imo. Also how much time did Montour play in Buffalo, hiw many points? Your crazy whoever wrote this

    • What happens when Risto decides to test the free agent market afet this season. Or w/ his prone to injuries especially over the past 4 seasons and missing big chunks of games, he still had a -151 plus/minus for his career. Bad team or not, that is An Absolutely Horrible Stat to have. Coming from an Ex ice hockey player. Hell, if one of my teammates was a -2 when I played for the Philadelphia Little Flyers, we did suicides basically all next practice. No pucks. And we learned.

  • Jack Donahue says:

    Your take on this trade is spot on. Liked Fletcher but see that he is a horrible judge of talent. His recent two moves are atrocious!

Leave a Reply