Editor’s note: It’s time for another guest blog entry. Amy is a season ticket holder for the Everett Silvertips, and has had the distinct pleasure of watching a (hopefully!) future Checker develop there over the past two seasons. She also blogs at Chuck A Puck. I asked her to do a quick write up Rasmus Rissanen, so here it is! – Chasing Checkers
When Chasing Checkers asked me to do a write up for her blog, I was a little surprised as I’m not a fervent fan of the Canes. I do follow them to a point, but I sure can’t tell you what’s going on day to day. However, I can tell you about someone who looks to be a part of the Canes future; and that is Rasmus Rissanen. He is currently in his second season as a member of my hometown’s WHL franchise, the Everett Silvertips.
The 19 year old native of Kuopio, Finland stands 6’3”, tips the scale at 205; and has been an important part of the Silvertips D-corps the last two years. As the first Finn to don the green and silver, the Tips drafted him as the 1st round selection (17th overall) in the 2009 CHL Import Draft; and that same year he was also drafted by the Canes in the 6th round of the NHL draft. He had been a physical force as part of Kal-Pa in Finland and here in the Dub his style of play has fit in very well. With the graduation of several very skilled blue liners, he had a bit of a baptism by fire at the beginning of last year. At first, it seemed like the much faster paced WHL was going to get the better of Rasmus, but he’s developed very well over the last couple of seasons. A stay at home defenseman, he also has a good shot though it’s sorely underused. If he ever does decide to start using it more often, I can see him being a bit like fellow Finn bomber Sami Salo.
He’s also been using the body more and more like Sami this season too; which seemed to have ramped up, whether by coincidence or simply maturity of his game, after his time playing with Team Suomi in the World Juniors tournament in Buffalo. His self-esteem had to have been boosted so high as last year the numbers game got him. After a good tryout camp, Riss ended up being the 8th defenseman for what would be a 7 Dman corps. We all know how hard it must be to be the last man cut; and it showed when he got back from Finnish team camp in 2009. So, with thoughts of last year in his mind, I can only imagine how determined he was to finally avoid the pink slip this Christmas; and how incredibly happy he was when he got the good news. As a part of Team Suomi in Buffalo, he didn’t get on the score sheet with points, but he had 14 PIM and 6 SOG.
So here we are, almost at the regular season with only 4 games left to go before the first round of the playoffs and
Rasmus has accumulated 1 goal and 11 assists, which isn’t too bad for a defensive defenseman. However one thing that he does need to work on next season, whether it’s here in Everett or in Charlotte, is not only his penalty minutes but his plus/minus. While PIM and +/- are not huge statistics, when they happen and why make a big difference especially for Riss. Not as much in the second half of the season, but stupid and pointless penalties were prevalent in the first few months of the Silvertips year; and those often led to goals.
Even though we still have some hockey to play here in Hooterville, which will hopefully include at least the first round of the post-season; we look ahead to the possibilities of where our fair-haired boy with the shy and sweet smile will end up next fall. Turning 20 in July, he could be in several different places… either he comes back for his overage year in Everett, starts out in Florida with some call ups to Charlotte, skips the E altogether and works all year with the Checkers; or the granddaddy of them all: patrolling the blueline at the RBC and taking direction from Chairman Mo. If he takes the lessons learned under Craig Hartsburg, who was a pretty damn good defenseman in his time, as well as those from Lauri Marjamaki and the Canes staff in camp I can see Rasmus eventually making it to the show. The best part of that for me will be is that I can say that I knew him when.