With the way Arttu Ruotsalainen is playing in the Liiga this season, he should garner a lot of interest from the Buffalo Sabres come training camp.
Arttu Ruotsalainen makes following the Buffalo Sabres’ prospects overseas exciting — especially lately. He’s been playing extremely well and we’re extremely proud of his amazing start to the season.
I know I might get a little annoying with my support for him on Twitter, but it’s what we all need right now and I’m not stopping anytime soon.
With that being said, I’m excited to finally write this piece.
To be honest, I planned on writing this article a week ago and even had notes for it sitting on my desk, but something told me to hold off on it for a little while.
Well, here we are and I must say it’s a good thing I waited because there’s A LOT more to talk about — and more evidence to back up my love for R2D2.
To many, Arttu Ruotsalainen is just a 5’8” forward that garners a lot of interest in the Liiga, but is too small to find that success in the NHL.
To others, he’s a hard-working forward that loves to shoot, produces both at full-strength and on the powerplay, is absolutely lethal from the right wing (slappers and wristers included), takes advantage of the ice time he’s given, and knows when to attack the net.
Oh yeah — and when he’s hot, he’s hot!
Let’s take a quick look at Arttu Ruotsalainen’s journey so far this season:
Game 1: holding penalty called against him in the first period
Game 2: tripping penalty called against him in the first period
Game 3: scored a goal in the second period and a shorthanded goal in the third period, but also picked up a diving penalty in the second period
Game 4: no goals, no assists, no penalties
Game 5: scored a powerplay goal in the first period
Game 6: picked up an assist in the second period and a goal in the third period, both of which came on the powerplay
Game 7: scored a powerplay goal on Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen in the first period, but also missed a penalty shot in the third period
Game 8: scored a goal in the second period and another one (empty-netter) in the third period
Game 9: no goals, no assists, his 4-game goal-streak and point-streak comes to an end
Talk about an incredible start to the season, am I right?! The first two games were a bit of a struggle for him, but he finally netted his first goal of the season in Game 3. After coming up short again in Game 4, he’s been lights out ever since.
And yes, you read that correctly, he went on a four-game goal-streak (5 goals and 1 assist in that span) and each one has been just as pretty as the next.
He had a beautiful one-time slapshot in Game 5 from the right wing, as well as a beautiful wrist shot from the right wing in Game 7. It was his first goal in Game 8 that drew the most attention, though. Let’s take a look at this beauty.
Arttu Ruotsalainen is on an incredible pace this season with Ilves. It’s his fourth season with Ilves (second time on loan) and while he’s played well the past two years, it’s nothing compared to the run he’s on in 2020.
In his Liiga career, he has played a total of 171 games with Ilves (52 goals, 60 assists) since 2017 and 85 games with Ässät (6 goals, 5 assists) from 2015-2017. Do you know where he hasn’t played yet?
The Buffalo Sabres. In fact, he hasn’t even played with the Rochester Americans, but that might not even be necessary with the way he’s playing lately.
Arttu Ruotsalainen is someone worth keeping an eye on as the Sabres’ training camp approaches. He’s got what the Sabres are craving right now (scoring), especially in the bottom-6. He’s like Brawndo for plants.
The main issue is finding room for him, especially with the recent depth signings to the roster.
It’s looking more and more likely that we see Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, Sam Reinhart/Victor Olofsson, Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner, and Dylan Cozens in the top-6. That would leave Sam Reinhart/Victor Olofsson, Cody Eakin, Tage Thompson, Zemgus Girgensons, Curtis Lazar, and Kyle Okposo as the bottom-6 on most nights.
While R2D2 could play center, he’s more of a wing at heart. Making the move to the NHL, I think he would be better suited on the wing (at least to start) because putting him at center would hurt his play. With the Sabres’ coaches keen on keeping that 4th line steady, it looks like Arttu has an uphill battle at seeing regular playing time this season.
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With that being said, there’s a good chance we see him fill in from time-to-time so he can get some experience before earning a larger role. I’d be on board with that under one condition — the Sabres don’t mishandle his development like they have with others.
No matter which way you look at it, R2D2 has the potential to be a regular playmaker for the Buffalo Sabres in the future and I’m all for it. I love his style of play and I think anyone who follows SabreNoise on Twitter knows that.
We’re going to continue monitoring his progress as the Liiga season continues. He has games on Oct. 27th, Oct. 30th, and Oct. 31st to end the month. We’ll see if he can spark up another goal-streak, but we know he’s giving 110% no matter what — that’s never a question when Arttu is out there.
For those of you that want to keep up on his progress, don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter. Every morning (bright and early) I post all the Sabres’ prospects in action that day. I also give real-time updates on how those games end up.
We really hope you enjoyed this blog about our beloved Buffalo Sabres. We look forward to continuing the conversation with the best fans in the world down below in the comments section.