The next time Rasmus Ristolainen skates with the Sabres, he’ll have a new contract. There’s no sign when that might be.
Ristolainen had been practicing with Buffalo while awaiting a new deal, but the restricted free agent did not report to KeyBank Center on Tuesday. It appears skating for free is over.
Ristolainen’s agent did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Ristolainen is one of three RFA defensemen still waiting for a deal. Also holding out are Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm and Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba, who has asked for a trade.
Money is the sticking point for Ristolainen and the Sabres, who have conversed about long- and short-term deals. Young defensemen with potential and talent have been getting locked up since the spring, and the sides are negotiating where the 21-year-old Ristolainen fits in.
The comparable deals, in order of contract value:
* Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman, eight years, $63 million, $7.875 million cap hit.
* Florida’s Aaron Ekblad, eight years, $60 million, $7.5 million cap hit.
* Columbus’ Seth Jones, six years, $32.4 million, $5.4 million cap hit.
* Boston’s Torey Krug, four years, $21 million, $5.25 million cap hit.
* Toronto’s Morgan Rielly, six years, $30 million, $5 million cap hit.
* Anaheim’s Sami Vatanen, four years, $19.5 million, $4.875 million cap hit.
* Pittsburgh’s Olli Maatta, six years, $24.5 million, $4.08 million cap hit.
Johnny Gaudreau, an RFA forward, signed a six-year, $40.5 million contract with Calgary this week.
NHL rosters are due at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Sabres start their season Thursday when Montreal visits KeyBank Center.