• "Needs to be big for us"

    News: Head coach Dan Bylsma indicated he'll be relying heavily on Rasmus Ristolainen this season.
    Analysis: Bylsma also said the 20-year-old Finn is entering a crucial stage in his development as he enters his third pro season, and fully expects "Risto" to be a big contributor on Buffalo's blue line. Bylsma compared Rasmus Ristolainen favorably to Pittsburgh's Olli Maatta, who had an outstanding rookie season and is regarded as one of the league's top young defenseman. As far as Sabres defensemen go, Ristolainen presents the most upside for fantasy owners, though Cody Franson is the most established player and the primary power play quarterback. He'll certainly get his minutes, though, so expect upwards of 20-21 minutes per night.
  • To make preseason debut Tuesday

    News: Rasmus Ristolainen will make his first appearance in preseason action Tuesday against Toronto, reports The Buffalo News.
    Analysis: Rasmus Ristolainen just recently returned from an upper-body injury and will be looking to shake off some rust. He's expected to be a big contributor for the Sabres this season and will likely play on the top pair with Mike Weber. The Leafs will be dressing a veteran roster so this will be a good litmus test for Ristolainen.
  • Sabres' Ristolainen Returns To Ice

    News: Rasmus Ristolainen practiced with the Sabres for the first time in over a week Monday, John Vogl of the Buffalo News reports.
    Analysis: It's great to see the 20-year-old defender return to action in time to potentially suit up for two of the Sabres' final three preseason contests. The exhibitions should give him an opportunity to shake off any rust he may have collected while sidelined with an upper-body injury. Rasmus Ristolainen is expected to enter the season as one of Buffalo's top-four defenseman and certainly possesses significant upside, but he needs to establish himself as a dependable contributor before he gains any fantasy relevance.
  • Sabres' Ristolainen Picks Up Three Assists

    News: Rasmus Ristolainen collected three assists in Friday's loss to the Blackhawks.
    Analysis: Another great outing for Rasmus Ristolainen, who is finishing the season strong. The 20-year-old is riding a four-game point streak in which he's recorded three goals and seven points. He's a plus-9 over his last nine games and is averaging 20:27 of ice time, making him a worth a pickup for these final few games.
  • Sabres' Ristolainen Good To Go For Friday

    News: Rasmus Ristolainen (illness) will return to the lineup Friday against the Blackhawks, Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald reports.
    Analysis: The illness prevented Rasmus Ristolainen from playing Wednesday against the Maple Leafs, but his return to practice Thursday suggests he's healthy and ready to play again. Before the illness reared its head, Ristolainen had been enjoying his most productive stretch of the season, tallying three goals and an assist over his previous three games.
  • Sabres' Ristolainen (Illness) Out Wednesday

    News: Rasmus Ristolainen (illness) was not on the ice for pregame warmups, and will not play Wednesday against the Leafs, Paul Hamilton of WGR Sports Radio 550 reports.
    Analysis: Rasmus Ristolainen wasn't expected to play after waking up a bit under the weather, and this was confirmed by his absence in pregame rushes. Look for the defenseman to return to the ice Friday against Chicago.
  • Sabres' Ristolainen Under The Weather

    News: Rasmus Ristolainen (illness) is unlikely to play Wednesday against the Maple Leafs.
    Analysis: Rasmus Ristolainen's overall numbers (17 points and a minus-29 rating in 73 games) aren't fantasy-friendly, but the 20-year-old has been on a bit of a roll of late, with goals in each of his last three games, to go along with an assist and a plus-6 rating in that span. We'll let you know if Ristolainen takes warmups later Wednesday, but for now it appears though his next chance to play will arrive Friday against Chicago.
  • Sabres' Ristolainen Produces Two Points In Loss

    News: Rasmus Ristolainen scored his seventh goal of the season, had an assist and was a plus-3 in Saturday's loss to the Avalanche.
    Analysis: Rasmus Ristolainen has scored in two straight games and has managed five points in his last seven games, giving him 16 points in 72 games on the season. The 20-year-old continues to log heavy minutes on the Sabres' blueline, skating 24:02 in Saturday's loss. He's an emerging fantasy threat who will be one to watch next season.
  • Sens' Ristolainen Finding Form On Power Play

    News: Rasmus Ristolainen recorded a power-play point for the second straight game Tuesday, scoring the Sabres' lone regulation goal in a 2-1 shootout win over Boston.
    Analysis: After going 10 straight off the scoresheet, Rasmus Ristolainen's surprisingly found his stride in the early part of this week. He's been seeing more time on the man advantage of late, and it's clearly starting to pay off. It's worth monitoring the progress of 2013's eighth overall pick.
  • Sabres' Ristolainen Snaps 10-Game Point Drought

    News: Rasmus Ristolainen scored an assist in Monday's shootout loss to Washington, ending a 10-game drought.
    Analysis: Rasmus Ristolainen also played more than 28 minutes for the second straight game with the Sabres blue line hit with another injury, this time to Andrej Meszaros (hand). The big Finnish defenseman's minutes have yo-yoed this season but going down the stretch drive it looks like coach Ted Nolan will be leaning on him a lot, especially if Zach Bogosian (lower body) doesn't play. Ristolainen doesn't score often enough to be of any fantasy value this season, but is a blue-chipper for next year.