The "Ristolainen Effect" could be an Issue for the Blackhawks

Philadelphia Flyers v Arizona Coyotes
Philadelphia Flyers v Arizona Coyotes / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

As the Chicago Blackhawks turn the page from 2022 to 2023 the focus will now shift to the trade deadline. While still months away, it's important to make notes of the past deadline and off-season deals that will help shape our expectations.

General Managers in Hockey are becoming less "gamblers" and more "savers" in my view. From my point of view, a combination of past deals as well as an elite group of prospects should spell out said expectations for our Blackhawks.

One such deal I want to highlight is the trade of Rasmus Ristolainen from Buffalo to Philadelphia on July 23, 2021. The top 4 mainstay was a big right shot defenseman in the prime of his career. A former top 10 pick, Rasmus looked the part of a player that could play in a multitude of game situations.

Over a span of 381 games, "Risto" was a consistent point getter as well with 203 points over that time. From a trade standpoiint, this would equal up to an asset worth a GMs attention as well as a compensation package worth quite a bit.

Cost it did, the Flyers gave the Sabres the 14th pick in the 2021 draft, former 2nd round pick D Robert Hagg, as well as a 2023 2nd round pick. The Sabres selected Swede Isak Rosen with the 14th selection as well as have a very valuable 2nd round pick in the upcoming draft.

Meanwhile Ristolainen has floundered in Philly and on the year has a single assist in 28 games played. Not only that, but in 94 games for the Flyers he has only produced 17 points and his shots per game numbers have plummeted. Typically his play would produce 2 to 2.5 shots a game while in Buffalo, however now he is just over a shot per game in those 94 matches.

This deal is a warning to GMs. Don't overpay, even if the player appears to be a player in his prime, consistent with numbers, and has the resume you look for. Sometimes it just doesn't work as evidence of the 5x5.1m extension that now Philly is on the hook for with Rasmus Ristolainen.

As the months go by and we all dream of the 1sts, 2nds, star prospects in return for our players.... Keep in mind that the 2023 1st round is special, that GMs are expecting a cap hike to go after UFAs, and that past deals show that compensation given is typically best kept in pocket.