Due to regional authorities imposing stricter COVID-19 restrictions with crowd gatherings at games in Finland, the Liiga has announced on Wednesday that it has suspended its regular season starting Thursday, Dec. 3 through Saturday, Dec. 19.
The Buffalo Sabres have a total of four prospects currently playing in Finland to start their 2020-21 season. Three out of the four prospects playing in the Liiga are on a loan agreement from the Sabres, which means that once training camp opens for the 2020-21 NHL season, those players will return to North America.
Though the league is nearly through a third of its season, all four of Buffalo's prospects in Finland have been relatively productive in that span.
Starting at the top of the scoring leaderboard in the Liiga, Arttu Ruotsalainen is showing some true promise with his production to start the year.
The 23-year-old forward is leading the entire league through 19 games played with 16 goals and 27 points. His 16 goals is four more goals than the next closest players on the stat line, while his 27 points is also four points ahead of the next closest player.
Ruotsalainen has been very a key cog of the offensive group in Tampere Ilves. He serves as the No. 1 center on the team, while also playing a number of key roles on the team, including the top power play unit and also on the penalty kill. Ruotsalainen leads the entire Liiga with a whopping nine power play goals, while also leading the league with three shorthanded goals.
In November alone, Ruotsalainen set the Liiga on fire with seven goals and five assists for 12 points in just seven games.