They should stick to politics and virus coverage
It's not the greatest trade, and it's a brutal write-up: but I'll be more interested in seeing what their Flyers writer has to say.
The difference between every player’s numbers with him on the ice and on the bench is absolutely staggering and that’s perfectly encapsulated by the team’s franchise player, Jack Eichel (who’s also on the way out). Over the last three seasons, Eichel has spent nearly 1,000 minutes with Ristolainen and in that time has a 46 percent goal rate. It’s 55 percent without him. By expected goals RAPM (a regressed version of expected goals that takes into account teammates and competition) Ristolainen’s effect is the 22nd worst among all defenders and the third-worst by goals. On a consistently bad Sabres team, Ristolainen has always been the anchor dragging everyone down.
He’s a liability at both ends of the ice prone to awful decision-making and has been incredibly miscast in a tough minutes role. It is true that Ristolainen has played very tough minutes, but his results within those minutes have been so consistently bad every year (while often playing with a strong top line anchored by Eichel) that it’s difficult to imagine there’ll be a substantial improvement in a lesser role.
Ristolainen isn’t the worst defender in the world by any stretch and has a frame that GMs covet, but how he’s used that frame during the entirety of his career has not been useful. Ristolainen has not been bad because of Buffalo – Buffalo has been bad because Ristolainen has been their most used defenceman. Moving on from him alone is great news for the Sabres.