Report: Sabres’ Ristolainen hints at wanting out of Buffalo

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The focus of much speculation around the hockey world this summer, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has dropped a strong hint that he wants a move out of town.

Speaking to Finland’s MTV Sports, Ristolainen said “recent seasons have been tough” and said he hasn’t been able to help the team win.

“I haven’t been able to enjoy hockey,” Ristolainen said in the translated story.

Ristolainen said he can’t say anything other than the fact that he will be in training camp with some team when they open on Sept. 12.

“We wanted to keep the discussions between me and the club,” he said.

The report from MTV said Ristolainen hasn’t been happy with the situation in Buffalo, alluding to the team’s misfortunes when it comes to getting into the playoffs.

Last month, MTV also reported that Ristolainen wouldn’t be with the Sabres next season.

Ristolainen has three years left on a contract that has has a $5.4 million annual average value attached to it. Rumors have swirled when it comes to potential dance partners in any deal, including the Winnipeg Jets who lost Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot this summer.

But the Jets are a cash-strapped team that would have to move out another piece and isn’t likely to ship off a top forward to make way for 24-year-old right-shot d-man.

The Sabres currently have nine defensemen under contract for the coming year, signaling that they’re at least prepared to lose him to trade. General manager Jason Botterill brought in defenseman Colin Miller earlier this summer via trade.

Ristolanen was drafted eighth overall at the 2013 NHL Draft. He had five goals and 38 assists in 78 games last season.

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Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck