Photo courtesy of Liiga.fi

Fantasy Summary

A small, gritty scorer who likes to fire the puck on goal and deflect it in front of the net. Not a huge forechecking or playmaking presence. Needs to continue developing his possession game.


Observations

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May 2021 – Ruotsalainen joined the AHL’s Rochester Americans on February 5, 2021 after an extremely successful stint in Liiga earlier in the 2020-2021 season. At the time of his final appearance with Ilves on November 28, 2020, he led the league in scoring with 16 goals and 27 points in 19 games. With the Rochester Americans, he scored five goals and 13 points in 13 games, prompting the Sabres to recall him to Buffalo. He made his NHL debut on April 9, 2021 and scored his first goal in the following game on April 11. In 17 games with the Sabres, he scored five goals and six points, spending most of his ice time on the right-wing alongside two-way rookie Dylan Cozens and 24-year-old Anders Bjork. He averaged 13:59 of TOI per game and 1:07 of powerplay time per game with Buffalo. During his time with the Sabres, he showcased numerous strengths, but also a series of deficiencies. He hustled along the ice and often played in traffic and around the net. He regularly supported his team on the backcheck, although in the neutral zone he preferred to trail the play. In the offensive zone, he needs to engage more along the end boards. Despite having a good motor, he must apply more pressure towards the opposition. Additionally, this season in Buffalo, he did not exhibit strong playmaking elements in his game nor sufficient vision or creativity, sometimes forcing pucks on net. His single assist in 17 games may be indicative of this. He was caught distributing the puck too slowly at times, and he struggled to get it past the opponent in transition, resulting in the loss of possession f