Buffalo Sabres
Photo courtesy of Liiga.fi

Fantasy Summary

Tiny forward with very good offensive skills and skating ability. Also plays a reliable defensive game and can kill penalties. A natural center but may have to move to wing because of his size.


Attributes
Fantasy Upside 6.5
NHL Certainty 6.5
Country FIN
Position C
Roster Type System
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth October 29, 1997
Height 5‘8”
Weight 180 lbs
Drafted No

Observations

August 2020 – Ruotsalainen’s 2019-2020 Liiga season with Ilves was a success. He finished the campaign with 15 goals and 43 points in 44 games, his highest point total and by far his highest points-per-game average playing in Finland. He finished 18th in league scoring and second among Ilves players. In the offensive zone, Ruotsalainen has found quite a lot of success hovering around the net-front. He is a powerplay and penalty-killing staple. He recorded a 9.5% shooting percentage, the highest of his career. He was scheduled to play the 2020-2021 season in North America, but due to COVID-19 has been loaned back to Ilves until regular-season play resumes in the NHL and AHL. Kevin Wong

 

January 2019 – Arttu Ruotsalainen is having quite the campaign with Ilves (Liiga). In 27 games played, the Finnish forward prospect has 12 goals and 17 assists. In fact on the 18th, Ruotsalainen tallied three assists and one goal against the Pelicans. He is having an outstanding campaign and finally posting consistent high-level offensive production. If Ruotsalainen can continue at this pace and his play translates into success in the pre-season (2020-21), he might have a spot in the NHL next season. Josh Tessler

 

September 2019 – Arttu Ruotsalainen has been assigned to play for Ilves this season. Unfortunately, Ruotsalainen’s training camp and preseason with the Buffalo Sabres did not go so well. Instead of staying in North America and playing either for Rochester or Buffalo, he is heading back to Finland for some more seasoning. Ruotsalainen’s shot selection was poor. He took quite a few shots from the perimeter when he had room and consistently aimed low for the goaltender’s pads. It did not appear that he was looking to create some rebound opportunities for his teammates. Instead, it seemed that he was a tad nervous in his first preseason with Buffalo. In addition, he had some weak breakup attempts and was not dependable in the defensive zone. On the flip side, Ruotsalainen did have good transitional play and his stick handling was NHL ready. While it is not a great sign that Ruotsalainen was reassigned to Ilves, it is not a bad one either. The 21 year old will likely play another full season in the Liiga and will hopefully refine his shot selection. If all goes to plan, Ruotsalainen will be back in Buffalo next season and he could make a solid case for a bottom-six role. Josh Tessle

 

May 2019 – Ruotsalainen has signed a three-year entry level contract with the Sabres.  Jokke Nevalainen

 

May 2019 – Ruotsalainen had a breakout season in the Liiga at age 21. Despite his young age, he was a leader on his team. His 21 goals and 42 points in 59 regular season games led the team in both categories, and those were some of the best marks in the league among his age group. He also added seven points in seven playoff games. Despite a strong season in the Liiga, Ruotsalainen was one of the final cuts from Finland’s roster for the World Championship tournament. Ruotsalainen has played at the Liiga level for four years already. Perhaps being pushed to the top level too early is part of the reason he’s been overlooked until now, although the biggest reason is probably his size (5-8, 181). But he doesn’t play like a typical small player. He competes very hard and isn’t afraid to go into the dirty areas of the ice.

Ruotsalainen has always been a scoring star among his age group in Finnish juniors but he hadn’t been able to translate that to pro level until this season. Ruotsalainen has very good offensive skills, great hockey sense and very good skating ability. He has a very good wrist shot and a dangerous backhander. He’s an opportunistic goal-scorer with great patience. He got great usage on the Ilves team this season, as he averaged over 21 minutes per game and received more power play time than any other player on the team. But only 14 of his points were scored on the power play, so he wasn’t overly reliant on power play production. He also led all forwards on his team in shorthanded ice time and was frequently used late in the game to protect a lead which allowed him to score five goals into an empty net. Ruotsalainen’s Corsi ratings were some of the best in the league, and he was also one of the best faceoff guys in the league. He will likely have to switch to wing to play in the NHL. He needs another year or two before he’s pushing for a spot on an NHL roster.  Jokke Nevalainen


Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2011-2012 Kärpät U16U16 SM-sarja Q8 8 412 4|        
  Kärpät U16U16 SM-sarja30 24 3559 18|Playoffs8 4 812
  Kärpät U18U18 SM-sarja2 0 00 0|        
 2012-2013 Kärpät U16U16 SM-sarja Q1 0 22 4|        
  Kärpät U16U16 SM-sarja0 0 00 0|Playoffs11 12 1527 10 
  Kärpät U18U18 SM-sarja45 15 3651 22|Playoffs3 0 00
  Kärpät U20U20 SM-sarja2 0 00 2|        
  Finland U16 (all)International-Jr11 10 616 6|        
 2013-2014 Kärpät U18U18 SM-sarja9 5 611 4|Playoffs1 0 00
  Kärpät U20U20 SM-sarja39 13 1831 16|Playoffs7 0 11
  Finland U17 (all)International-Jr12 2 57 2|        
 2014-2015 Kärpät U18U18 SM-sarja0 0 00 0|Playoffs6 7 815
  Kärpät U20U20 SM-sarja46 12 2133 55|Playoffs5 2 13
  Finland U18Hlinka Gretzky Cup4 1 12 18|        
  Finland U18WJC-187 0 22 0|        
  Finland U18 (all)International-Jr23 3 58 24|        
 2015-2016 Ässät U20U20 SM-sarja18 12 2032 14|Playoffs3 1 12
  ÄssätLiiga51 5 510 4|        
  Finland U19 (all)International-Jr7 7 29 4|        
 2016-2017 Ässät U20U20 SM-sarja7 6 39 8|Playoffs6 3 710
  ÄssätLiiga34 1 01 10|Playoffs1 0 00
  Finland U20WJC-206 0 00 0|        
  Finland U20 (all)International-Jr18 7 411 10|        
 2017-2018 IlvesLiiga60 9 1120 12|        
 2018-2019 IlvesLiiga59 21 2142 14|Playoffs7 2 57
  Finland EHT6 1 12 2|        
  Finland (all)International11 2 13 4|        
 2019-2020 IlvesLiiga44 15 2843 14|        
  Finland EHT2 0 00 0|        
  Finland (all)International2 0 00 0|        
 2020-2021 IlvesLiiga- - -- -|        

Highlights