02/25/2024

TBL:

4

NJD:

1

Final

PHI:

6

PIT:

7

Final

CAR:

2

BUF:

3

Final

NYR:

2

CBJ:

4

Final

DET:

3

CHI:

2

Final

ARI:

3

WPG:

4

Final

NSH:

4

ANA:

2

Final

02/26/2024

OTT:

3

WSH:

6

Final

NYI:

3

DAL:

2

Final

LAK:

2

EDM:

4

Final

BOS:

3

SEA:

4

Final

02/27/2024

WSH:

3

DET:

8

Final

BUF:

2

FLA:

3

Final

ARI:

2

MTL:

4

Final

TBL:

2

PHI:

6

Final

VGK:

6

TOR:

2

Final

CAR:

3

MIN:

2

Final

OTT:

1

NSH:

4

Final

STL:

2

WPG:

4

Final

LAK:

2

CGY:

4

Final

DAL:

1

COL:

5

Final

PIT:

4

VAN:

3

Final

NJD:

7

SJS:

2

Final

02/28/2024

CBJ:

1

NYR:

4

Final

STL:

2

EDM:

3

Final

02/29/2024

VGK:

0

BOS:

0

07:00 ET

CAR:

0

CBJ:

0

07:00 ET

NYI:

0

DET:

0

07:00 ET

MTL:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

BUF:

0

TBL:

0

07:00 ET

ARI:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

WPG:

0

DAL:

0

08:00 ET

MIN:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

COL:

0

CHI:

0

09:00 ET

PIT:

0

SEA:

0

10:00 ET

LAK:

0

VAN:

0

10:00 ET

ANA:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

03/01/2024

ARI:

0

OTT:

0

07:00 ET

PHI:

0

WSH:

0

07:00 ET

NJD:

0

ANA:

0

10:00 ET

03/02/2024

WPG:

0

CAR:

0

12:30 ET

FLA:

0

DET:

0

03:00 ET

EDM:

0

SEA:

0

04:00 ET

COL:

0

NSH:

0

06:00 ET

MIN:

0

STL:

0

06:00 ET

VGK:

0

BUF:

0

07:00 ET

OTT:

0

PHI:

0

07:00 ET

MTL:

0

TBL:

0

07:00 ET

NYR:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

BOS:

0

NYI:

0

07:30 ET

CBJ:

0

CHI:

0

08:00 ET

SJS:

0

DAL:

0

08:00 ET

PIT:

0

CGY:

0

10:00 ET

Does a Trade for Flyers Rasmus Ristolainen Make Sense for the Maple Leafs?

With the National Hockey League’s annual Trade Deadline just around the corner, trade rumors are in full flight. With the Toronto Maple Leafs certainly looking to upgrade their defense, could Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen be a good fit?

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a glaring hole on their top pairing, despite Morgan Rielly having a strong season. Maple Leafs General Manager Brad Treliving has to find an answer for who can play the top pair alongside Morgan Rielly if this team wants to have long-term success in the postseason.

So, with the Maple Leafs potentially looking for a defenseman, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen is among one of the top options at this year’s deadline. Rasmus is a 29-year-old 6’4” right-handed defenseman who plays more of a defensive game but does have some offensive tools that could make this addition intriguing. 

The initial fit of a Morgan Rielly and Rasmus Ristolainen pairing could work, especially since Rasmus Ristolainen isn’t horribly bad in transition and more defensively reliable, but so far this year, Rasmus Ristolainen’s success has come in a lesser role, in sheltered minutes for the Flyers which is why I don’t think this move would be best.

The Positives 

When thinking about a partner for Morgan Rielly, you’re obviously going to want someone who can be trusted more defensively, given the style of play Morgan Rielly brings. We saw lots of success last year in the playoffs with Luke Schenn, and surprisingly, Rasmus Ristolainen does have some traits that could potentially replicate that.

Defensively, Rasmus Ristolainen is really good in terms of puck retrievals and is reliable on breakouts, which is a need for this team. The size Rasmus plays with is also a factor, although the 29-year-old defenseman isn’t afraid to use his body to separate the opposition from the puck, he’s not the most overly physical defenseman.

Another key note is that Rasmus Ristolainen is effective in front of the net, boxing out the opposition. Ristolainen also has an underrated shot from the backend that could be an additional bonus. 

Honestly, Rasmus’ offensive tools intrigue me. Prior to being traded to Philadelphia, Rasmus Ristolainen put up some decent offensive results while with the Buffalo Sabres. Although that cost some of his metrics defensively, over the years, he’s started tilting the pendulum to become a more defensively sound defenseman. Can Rasmus Ristolainen develop into a solid two-way defenseman under Sheldon Keefe? It’s possible, but I’m not overly optimistic. 

The Negatives 

The elephant in the room is Rasmus Ristolainen’s contract with the Flyers. Rasmus is signed through the 2026-27 season with a cap hit of $5,100,000, according to Capfriendly.com. Obviously, given the Maple Leafs current cap situation, that would be an enormous addition long-term, but the team could potentially find a way to get creative. It’ll cost a lot, but it’s possible, as we’ve seen before.

The Sheldon Keefe system does favor more mobile personnel, which is another caution with a trade for Rasmus Ristolainen. Playing alongside a player like Morgan Rielly could make up for a players lack of speed and mobility, as we saw with Luke Schenn, I just question if Rasmus Ristolainen can adjust to a man-on-man Sheldon Keefe system in the defensive-zone.

Another question is if Ristolainen’s game is worthy of a top pairing role. It would certainly be a high-upside move that could benefit the team long-term if salary retention is in play, but playing against the opposition’s best every night will likely be an issue. 

What it would take to make a trade like this would probably cost a fortune, which is why I don’t think it’s the best idea. I don’t mind the player and the fit, but the risk is just too large for the Maple Leafs to take, given the assets that would need to be moved in a deal like this. Salary has to be retained in order for me to get behind a trade for Rasmus Ristolainen.

Thanks for reading, for more hockey content, follow me on Twitter at ITR_Anselmo.

The Colonization of Robidas Island Leafs Late Night

WELCOME BACK TO LEAFS LATE NIGHT! Presented by Inside The RinkRoscoe / Suthy / Biehner- Hats on Hats- Dumb Game, Dumb Loss- 5 Piece Tendies- Targets Aquired- EA + GTANEW MERCH IS AVAILABLE!JOIN OUR DISCORD!Remember to follow us on Twitter @LeafsLateNight & IG @LeafsLateNightCheck out Mike, Josh, and Nathan's articles on the Leafs + many more! insidetherink.comHow to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. The Colonization of Robidas Island
  2. The Hat Store Called, They're Runnin' Outta Hats
  3. William Saves The Kingdom
  4. According To McPlann
  5. To Punt or Not To Punt

Joshua Anselmo

A hockey mind that's always looking at new and insightful ways to bring different perspectives of the game we all love.

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