Cage Match: Rasmus Ristolainen vs. Torey Krug

Rick Roos

2016-02-03

Who would you rather own – Rasmus Ristolainen or Torey Krug? Rick Roos points you in the right direction…

 

This week’s battle features Rasmus Ristolainen and Torey Krug. Going into 2015-16, poolies would’ve expected Krug to have Ristolainen’s current stat line, and for Ristolainen to continue to improve slowly but surely on a still rebuilding Sabres team. The question is whether what we’re actually witnessing from either (or both) is indicative of how they’ll produce for the rest of 2015-16 or beyond. Time to find out – Cage Match starts now!

 

Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Implications

Ristolainen, who many forget is only 21, was drafted 8th overall in 2013 despite not showing much offensive potential in his years with TPS Turku. But that didn’t stop Ristolainen from debuting with the Sabres that same season, where he proceeded to post only four points in 34 games, going -15 in the process. Tallying 20 points in 34 AHL contests in 2013-14, and three in five WJC games, validated high hopes for Ristolainen; and last season he upped his NHL points total to 20, albeit with a -34 rating that was arguably more a function of the tanking slumping Sabres than Ristolainen himself. This season he’s been vastly improved, besting his 20 points from last season in only 29 games and staying in the top ten defensemen scorers for most of the campaign.

Krug, now 24, was never drafted, making his way to Boston as a coveted free agent in Spring 2012 after being named a Hobey Baker finalist. Krug spent nearly all the 2012-13 campaign in the AHL, but then famously scored four goals in his first five playoff games. Expectations were high for Krug in 2013-14, and he delivered with 40 points in 79 games, then essentially matched that production in 2014-15 (39 points in 78 contests). But this season so far, Krug not only hasn’t improved, but is actually below his career scoring pace.

Per Cap Friendly, both players will be RFAs this summer, with Krug counting $3.4M against the cap on his current one-year deal, compared to only $0.925M for Ristolainen, who’s finishing his ELC.

 

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