While hockey fans in North America drink in 10-12 hours of playoff (or round-robin) action every day, other leagues around the world continue to prepare for a 2020-21 season. In Finland, Ilves has announced that Arttu Ruotsalainen will be back after a loan from the Buffalo Sabres. The release notably does not indicate that it will be for the entire season, using the term “until further notice” instead, meaning Ruotsalainen could be back for Sabres training camp in November.
The 22-year old forward signed his three-year entry-level contract in the spring of 2019, but spent this season back in Finland continuing his development. That’s the same arrangement they’ll go with now, but after dominating offensively once again you can bet the Sabres want to get a look at him on North American ice eventually.
Ruotsalainen is undersized, standing at just 5-foot-8, but has continued to find success as he climbs the levels in Finland. This past season he recorded 43 points in 44 games. With the Sabres having trouble finding offensive talent to surround players like Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Victor Olofsson, taking a chance on a player like Ruotsalainen makes sense.
Still, while Finland’s top league is competitive, it’s not the NHL. The young forward will be in tough trying to replicate those offensive totals when he eventually does come over, if he even gets an opportunity with Buffalo at all.