The future of former first round draft pick Rasmus Ristolainen now looks more uncertain than ever.
Throughout the offseason there have been rumors of a potential trade involving Ristolainen and when you look at some of the moves made by Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill over the summer it is not hard to see why those rumors have gained steam. It is one thing however to have rumors floating around a player, and another thing entirely to have that very same player all but acknowledge that he has had all he can stand of his team's losing ways.
According to a stunning report from the staff over at the Buffalo News, Risolainen reportedly implied that he had asked to be traded. It is unclear based on the report when the demand was made or how it was made, but one thing that was clear was that Ristolainen has not enjoyed his career in the National Hockey League since he was drafted all the way back in 2013. When you consider the fact that the Buffalo Sabres have consistently been rather terrible since he was selected, it is hard to blame the 24 year old who has already given 6 seasons of his career to the organization.
"I haven't been able to help the team win," said Ristolainen as per the Buffalo News. "Recent seasons have been tough and I haven't been able to enjoy hockey."
The original article from MTV Sports, which is in Finnish, suggest that Ristolainen wants to be moved elsewhere, and his comments would seem to echo those sentiments. Ristolainen would not come right out and say that he no longer has any desire to play with the Buffalo Sabres, but his comments about the upcoming 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season made it painfully obvious that he is not viewing the Buffalo Sabres as the only option at this time.
"I cannot say anything other than the fact that on the 12th of September, I will be at one of the NHL team's training camps," he said.
It seems obvious to me based on this interview that Ristolainen no longer wants to be a Buffalo Sabre, and frankly I find it very difficult to criticize him for his decision given the circumstances.