Fans, analysts shred 'illogical' Ristolainen trade


The Flyers completed their third notable trade of the past week on Friday afternoon, sending Robert Hagg and draft picks to Buffalo in exchange for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, a move that has a large portion of the fan base ... perturbed? Is perturbed the right word here?

Fans certainly aren't giddy, the way they were after the Ryan Ellis trade earlier this month. That was a strong deal for a premier defenseman who's locked up for six years. Friday's trade with Buffalo, which sent the No. 13 overall pick in Friday's 2021 NHL draft and a 2023 second-round pick to the Sabres, brought back a middling defenseman on an expiring contract.

That's, uh, maybe not the best use of your resources?

The reaction to the deal Friday was swift and largely unpleasant, both from fans and from analysts and insiders who know the game. 

Here are a few reactions from hockey experts, starting with NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall:

"The Flyers are deeper now, no doubt, at a crucial area. But there's no denying it was costly."

Straight to the point: that was a pricey move from general manager Chuck Fletcher. While Ristolainen's production in Buffalo might've been a little skewed by playing for the worst team in hockey, the Flyers still wayyyy overpaid.

A little stronger of a take came from The Athletic's instant draft grades:

"Finally, a win for Buffalo. A MASSIVE win for Buffalo.



"You’ve got to be bad and illogical to make an F trade. And my friends, guess what we have here? The Flyers provide."

Bad and illogical, eh? Yikes! 

The illogical part certainly comes into focus when you realize the Flyers could've simply kept Shayne Gostisbehere as a depth defenseman without surrendering the enormous draft capital they shipped out over the last two days. And, unless Fletcher wants this trade to be one of the worst of all-time, the Flyers will have to sign Ristolainen to a long-term deal to keep him in Philly after this season.

Elsewhere, here are some rough metrics on Ristolainen from his time in Buffalo:

I'm not the biggest hockey analytics head out there, but I can tell you that all of that red is a non-starter.

Of course, the strongest takes came from Flyers fans themselves, who were none too pleased with Friday's developments:

Just days after the Ellis deal, with the draft hours away, the Flyers had some real good will brewing. And then ... this. Tough.

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