The Buffalo Sabres are boasting one of the youngest units in all of hockey. They have several drafts picks from this year’s and last year’s draft on the team’s current roster and fantasy hockey fans have quickly taken note of the youth movement around the NHL.
One of Buffalo’s young stars worth picking up in fantasy hockey dynasty leagues is defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. The Finnish blueliner is currently getting the fifth-most ice time (17:42) among Buffalo’s defenseman, trailing only Christian Ehrhoff (26:14), Tlyer Myers (21:54), Mark Pysyk (20:33), and Mike Weber (18:30). Oddly, the 2013 first round pick (8th overall) is playing more than two minutes more per game than 11-year veteran, Henrik Tallinder, this season. Tallinder, like always, has missed some time with injury already this season and considering his extensive injury history, Buffalo may just be running out of patience with the oft-injured defender.
Ristolainen may not have any points through the first three games of the season, but that is likely due to the fact that Buffalo is ranked 30th in the league with 0.5 points per contest. The defender still has strong two-way ability and can mature into a reliable fantasy contributor. He is only 18 years old, so he is naturally a little rough around the edges, but his potential is limitless. He is very confident on the ice and has an NHL-ready frame at six-foot-three 201 pounds.
Ristolainen has earned his stripes through the first three games of the season and doesn’t appear to be leaving the team anytime soon. He is worth a pickup in deeper formats and is absolutely worth holding onto in any type of keeper format.