Time to shine for our Finnish UDFA
The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of six staff writers and over 485 fans that ranked players under the age of 25 as of August 10, 2021. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player.
The 23 year old has established himself in Finland and Rochester. It’s time to shine, and looks like Buffalo Sabres head coach Donnie Granato is giving Arttu the chance.
As our top two centers look to alternate between high picks Dylan Cozens and Casey Mittelstadt, Ruotsalainen has been given the opportunity to snag one of the bottom 6 center spots. Battling it out with long time Sabre Zemgus Girgensons and somehow still on the roster Cody Eakin, Ruotsalainen, like all our centers, will have minimal help on the wings to start the season.
Lucky for him, his almost-Olofsson level powerplay shot is going to be a big help on the power play unit, and a budget friendly (hey Terry!) option for the powerplay long term, if the Sabres and Olofsson are unable to have a new contract.
Zemgus Girgensons and Arttu Ruotsalainen will play center today, according to Don Granato, who said the Sabres need to get creative at that position.
— Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) September 23, 2021
In training camp, Ruotsalainen centered Rasmus Asplund and new comer & Granato lover Vinnie Hinostroza. Vinnie looks to provide some offensive punch (12 points in 17 games on the Hawks last season, 39p in 72 games with Arizona a few seasons ago) and Asplund is a solid player in all facets of the ice. A solid third line, should all three players pull their respective weights.
I’m excited for Arttu and I hope you are too. We’re gonna need him pulling some weight in the bottom 6, or in case of injury, become our 2C.