The Philadelphia Flyers have acquired defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Robert Hagg, a 2021 first round draft pick (13th overall) and a 2023 2nd round pick.
The Flyers are presumably a lot happier about this than they should be. To say that Ristolainen is not elite is an understatement. He has played top-pairing minutes in Buffalo, but the results are at replacement level. To trade a first AND a second-round pick for him is abysmal. Sure, Ristolainen can rack up points and is physical. But he is often a defensive liability. There is no way that he is worth even the second-rounder. An all-around head scratcher for the Flyers, who trading a second-round pick to unload Shayne Gostisbehere yesterday, only to trade even more assets to get a worse and more expensive defenseman. Ristolainen is a year away from free agency and will count for $5.4 million against the cap this year.
Ristolainen, 26, scored four goals with 14 assists for 18 points in 49 games for Buffalo in 2020-21. In his NHL career, all for the Sabres, Ristolainen has scored 46 points with 199 assists for 245 points in 542 games.
The Sabres are big winners here. Ristolainen was only holding them back, and now they get key assets. Hagg is not one of them. With one year left at $1.6 million on his contract, Hagg is a borderline third-pairing defenseman. Still, any team would take him for two highly valuable picks. As of now, this is actually the highest draft pick traded this year. Good on Buffalo for getting more for Ristolainen than a comparable like David Savard did.
Hagg, 26, scored two goals with three assists for five points in 34 games for the Flyers in 2020-21. In his NHL career, all in Philadelphia, Hagg has scored 13 goals with 34 assists for 47 points in 236 games.