The resurgence of Rasmus Ristolainen

Travis Politakis
December 20, 2023  (7:44 PM)

Photo credit: twitter.com/NHLFlyers

Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen is in the midst of season 11 in his NHL career and has had a roller-coaster experience thus far. Ristolainen was thrust into the fire at just 18-years-old with the Buffalo Sabres and was tasked with big minutes as well. During his rookie season as a teenager, Ristolainen recorded 34 games played with the Sabres, averaging 19 minutes on ice per game.

Since then, Ristolainen consistently found the ice, playing over 70 games for five straight seasons and recording over 30 points for four consecutive seasons between 2015-2019.
Despite his consistency on the ice, Ristolainen was stuck in a rough situation in Buffalo where he saw eight seasons with no playoff appearances and six different head coaches. For a player, that amount of coaching turnover makes it extremely hard to produce.
To cap it off, when Ristolainen got to Philly, he had to go through another coaching change as head coach Alain Vigneault was fired amidst the 2021-22 season and Mike Yeo had to step in as interim head coach.
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As second year head coach John Tortorella continues to make his impact with this Flyers squad, Ristolainen has fully bought in to Tortorella's coaching style and is extremely grateful to have a coach that, for now, seems to be leading the team in the right direction.
"I wish I had him when I was 18 coming into the league. It's been fun playing for him and I feel like I've taken big steps under him."

Ristolainen is often times under heavy scrutiny from Flyers fans, but Tortorella has emphasized both the importance and improvement that Ristolainen has shown this season.
"I know people want to run him out of town here, but be careful, be careful with defensemen especially. You just never know when it clicks in."
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