The contract stalemate between Rasmus Ristolainen and the Buffalo Sabres continues as the defenseman begins play in the World Cup of Hockey.
Ristolainen, a restricted free agent, was in the lineup for Team Finland on Thursday as it played its first World Cup tuneup against Sweden. There is nothing new to report in regards to negotiations with the Sabres, a source says, and the 21-year-old will play in the international tournament without a deal in place. The defenseman is Buffalo's last significant free agent remaining.
Ristolainen is insured against any short- or long-term injury suffered during the World Cup.
Ristolainen has company in attending the tournament without a deal. Other unsigned restricted free agents playing in the World Cup include forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Nikita Kucherov, and defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Jacob Trouba.