Rasmus Ristolainen briefly left the Sabres. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Rasmus Ristolainen to 6-year contract

BUFFALO – Two days before the season opener, the Sabres today signed defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to a six-year contract with an average annual value of $5.4 million, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, ending a brief holdout by the restricted free agent.

The Finn, 21, had been practicing without a contract as a “goodwill” gesture, his agent said. He didn’t practice today.

Ristolainen was the Sabres’ best defenseman last season, compiling nine goals and 41 points while averaging more than 25 minutes of ice in his 82 games.

“Rasmus has already proven to be a pivotal player on our blue line and we are eager to have him back with the team,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said in a statement. “This deal is a reflection of the hard work and improvement Rasmus has shown since being drafted and we hope to see him continue on this trajectory moving forward.”

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