Reijo Ruotsalainen

Reijo Ruotsalainen (born April 1, 1960) is a Finnish retired ice hockey defenceman. He was twice named Finland's top defenceman, and won two Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers, in 1987 and 1990.

Reijo Ruotsalainen
Reijo Ruotsalainen 2016.jpg
Ruotsalainen in 2016
Born (1960-04-01) April 1, 1960 (age 59)
Oulu, Finland
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight 165 lb (75 kg; 11 st 11 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Right
Played for NHL
New York Rangers
Edmonton Oilers
New Jersey Devils
SM-liiga
Kärpät
Tappara
KalPa
Elitserien
HV71
Nationalliga A
SC Bern
Zürich SC Lions
National team  Finland
NHL Draft 119th overall, 1980
New York Rangers
Playing career 1975–1998

Playing careerEdit

Ruotsalainen started his career in Kärpät. Nicknamed "Reksa", he was recognized as a talented defenseman while playing for Kärpät junior teams. Kärpät was promoted to SM-liiga from 1. Divisioona for the 1977–78 season, and Ruotsalainen played 30 games and posted 23 points in his first SM-liiga season. During the 1979–80 season, Ruotsalainen and Kärpät played in the SM-liiga Playoffs, but were eliminated from the Finals by HIFK. Kärpät, however, won the bronze medal series, 2-0, against TPS. The 1980–81 season proved to be a breakthrough for Ruotsalainen. Kärpät made the finals against Tappara, coming from behind in the fifth and decisive game, winning the game 5-2. After his first Championship in SM-liiga, Ruotsalainen headed to National Hockey League (NHL).

Ruotsalainen was signed by the New York Rangers of the NHL in 1981. During his debut season, he scored 56 points in 78 games. Initially paired on defense with Barry Beck, Ruotsalainen was eventually moved to forward. Coach Herb Brooks said Ruotsalainen was the best skater in NHL.[citation needed] Ruotsalainen's fluid skating helped him compensate for his lack of size. Ruotsalainen had his NHL-career high in points during the 1984–85 NHL season, leading the Rangers in scoring with 73 points in 80 games. Ruotsalainen played in the 1986 NHL All-Star game.

Ruotsalainen's contract expired after the conclusion of the 1985–86 NHL season, and he accepted an offer from SC Bern of the Swiss Nationalliga A. Ruotsalainen played in 35 games and scored 53 points for SC Bern before returning to the NHL.

Ruotsalainen was signed by the Edmonton Oilers for the remainder of the 1986–87 NHL season and was given a spot on the top line of the Oilers. The Oilers went on to win the Stanley Cup at the end of the season, and Ruotsalainen's name was added to the Cup for the first time.

Ruotsalainen next signed with HV71 in Sweden, with whom Ruotsalainen scored 32 points in 40 games.

After his single season in Sweden, Ruotsalainen was again contracted by SC Bern, playing a single season for them, scoring 46 points in 36 games.

Ruotsalainen returned to the NHL after a two-season absence, starting the 1989–90 NHL season with the New Jersey Devils. He was traded to Edmonton after 31 games, leading to winning his second Stanley Cup, as the Oilers won the Cup for the fifth time, the first without Wayne Gretzky.

Ruotsalainen returned to Europe and played for SC Bern, yet again, in a tenure that lasted for three seasons. Ruotsalainen scored 38 points during his first season back in Bern.

Ruotsalainen returned to his "home team" when he was contracted by Kärpät in 1993, by which time had been relegated back to 1. Divisioona. Ruotsalainen played four games for Kärpät, scoring 6 points. Ruotsalainen was acquired by SM-liiga team Tappara for reminder of the 1993–94 season. Ruotsalainen played six regular season games with Tappara and scored 6 points, and 3 points in 9 playoff games, as Tappara was eliminated by TPS in the semifinals.

After his season in Finland, Ruotsalainen accepted a contract offer from SC Bern for the 1994–95 season, and played 19 games and had 10 points.

Ruotsalainen returned to Finland for the 1995–96 season and played for KalPa with 8 points in 16 games. He was contracted mid-season to Swiss team ZSC Lions, where he played 18 games with 15 points.

After his season in Zürich, Ruotsalainen ended his career in Finland, playing for Kärpät in the Finnish 1. Divisioona for two more seasons, scoring 31 points in 44 games during his Final season.

Ruotsalainen ended his career in 1998. His jersey #10 is currently retired by Kärpät.[1]

International careerEdit

Reijo Ruotsalainen
Medal record
Representing   Finland
Men's ice hockey
Olympic Games
  1988 Calgary
World Junior Championships
  1980 Finland
European Junior Championships
  1976 Czechoslovakia

Ruotsalainen played for the Finnish junior national team from 1975 to 1980, winning bronze at the European Junior Championships in 1976 and silver at the World Junior Championships in 1980, where he together with Tomas Jonsson were appointed best defencemen of tournament.[2] He played for the Finnish national team at the IIHF World Championships in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1985, and 1989, the 1988 Winter Olympics (winning silver) and the 1981 and the 1987 Canada Cups. [2]

Ruotsalainen became a coach after his playing career. He was an assistant coach with the Miami Matadors of the ECHL during their only season in 1998-99.

He is a member of the Finnish Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.

Awards and achievementsEdit

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1975–76 Kärpät FIN.2 34 9 15 24 12
1976–77 Kärpät FIN.2 42 25 41 66 14
1977–78 Kärpät SM-l 30 9 14 23 4
1978–79 Kärpät SM-l 36 14 8 22 47
1979–80 Kärpät SM-l 30 15 13 28 31 6 5 2 7 0
1980–81 Kärpät SM-l 34 28 23 51 28 12 7 4 11 6
1981–82 New York Rangers NHL 78 18 38 56 27 10 4 5 9 2
1982–83 New York Rangers NHL 77 16 53 69 22 9 4 2 6 6
1983–84 New York Rangers NHL 74 20 39 59 26 5 1 1 2 2
1984–85 New York Rangers NHL 80 28 45 73 32 3 2 0 2 6
1985–86 New York Rangers NHL 80 17 42 59 47 16 0 8 8 6
1986–87 SC Bern NDA 35 26 27 53 27
1986–87 Edmonton Oilers NHL 16 5 8 13 6 21 2 5 7 10
1987–88 HV71 SEL 40 10 22 32 26 2 0 1 1 2
1988–89 SC Bern NDA 36 17 29 46 46 11 4 7 11 22
1989–90 New Jersey Devils NHL 31 2 5 7 14
1989–90 Edmonton Oilers NHL 10 1 7 8 6 22 2 11 13 12
1990–91 SC Bern NDA 36 13 25 38 20 10 5 8 13 10
1991–92 SC Bern NDA 35 7 16 23 24 11 4 6 10 4
1992–93 SC Bern NDA 31 7 15 22 42 5 0 3 3 29
1993–94 Kärpät FIN.2 4 1 5 6 6
1993–94 Tappara SM-l 6 2 4 6 2 9 1 2 3 6
1994–95 SC Bern NDA 19 3 7 10 20 6 1 5 6 4
1995–96 KalPa SM-l 16 3 5 8 4
1995–96 Zürcher SC NDA 18 4 11 15 4
1996–97 Kärpät FIN.2 17 1 5 6 14 9 0 4 4 0
1997–98 Kärpät FIN.2 44 8 23 31 42 14 2 6 8 10
SM-l totals 152 71 67 138 116 27 13 8 21 12
NHL totals 446 107 237 344 180 86 15 32 47 44
NDA totals 210 77 130 207 183 43 14 29 43 69

InternationalEdit

Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
1976 Finland EJC 3 1 0 1 0
1977 Finland WJC 7 2 4 6 6
1977 Finland EJC 2 0 2 2 0
1978 Finland WJC 6 3 3 6 2
1978 Finland WC 10 2 0 2 2
1979 Finland WJC 6 0 3 3 0
1979 Finland WC 6 2 0 2 2
1980 Finland WJC 5 4 3 7 2
1981 Finland WC 8 3 2 5 4
1981 Finland CC 5 0 1 1 2
1985 Finland WC 10 0 4 4 6
1987 Finland CC 4 0 0 0 2
1988 Finland OLY 8 4 2 6 0
1989 Finland WC 10 2 4 6 6
Junior totals 29 10 15 25 10
Senior totals 61 13 13 26 24

Awards and honorsEdit

  • Directorate Award, Best Defenseman, 1980 IIHF world junior hockey championships[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Stellan Kvärre (26 November 1998). "Tre debutanter i tre kronor" (in Swedish). Dagens nyheter. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  3. ^ Cohen, Russ; Halligan, John; Raider, Adam (2009). 100 Ranger Greats: Superstars, Unsung Heroes and Colorful Characters. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0470736194. Retrieved 2020-02-04.
  4. ^ Collins gem Hockey Facts and Stats 2009-10, p.512, Andrew Podnieks, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, Toronto, Canada, ISBN 978-1-55468-621-6

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Pekka Rautakallio
Winner of the Pekka Rautakallio trophy
1979-80 & 1980-81
Succeeded by
Pertti Lehtonen