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Mattias Ritola


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#1 Aussie_Wing

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 10:47 AM

Is anyone else starting to get really excited about this kid?

After finishing another poor season over in Sweden in 2007, the Wings had a decision to make, cut him loose or take a punt and give him a contract. He probably didnt even deserve one as he was struggling to even make an impact in the 2nd tier Swedish league. But the Red Wings saw something in him that they liked so they rewarded him with a contract in the hope that his talents would lead to success in North America.

Although this might be a little premature I think the gamble is paying off. Darren Helm is still considered a prospect so hes still my favourite but Id now have Ritola at #2. He had a very encouraging rookie season with the Griffins and although he didnt put up a whole heap of points, his play was promising and he got better as the season wore on. He had 22 points in 72 games and even got a call up to the Wings during the time they were savaged by injury. He had an assist in his two game stint. The defensive side of his game was meant to be a real weakness and yet from memory he had the best +/- rating of all the Griffins last season, if not the best then at least right up there. He started paying more attention to this area and its certainly paid off.

He is one of the more highly skilled prospects we have and IMO he has top 6 potential. People have been amazed by his puck handling ability and he never seems to lose the puck when bringing it up ice. Hopefully this season he can put a few more pucks in the net and continue to play hard every night just as he did last season. Hes only 21, has decent size and is quick. I really like Ritola and what he could potentially bring to the table in a few years time. thumbup.gif

Ken Holland: Hes (Mursak) a young guy, provides energy, can skate, hes a puck hound.


#2 TNBT

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 11:08 AM

I must be honest. I haven't been the best Wings fan recently. I have been too caught up following my Chicago Bulls and Chicago Bears, but I have still always been a Wings fan. I'm not as up to date on the prospects as I used to be, but everything I have seen and heard about this kid gives me hope. He seems to have a lot of skills and potential.

#3 Doggy

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 06:02 AM

If he works hard like Hank and Dats then the talent will get him somewhere. But you can say that about many, many prospects with his frame.

The team was at full strength pretty much when he played too. It was pre-Mac and someone was injured.

Good luck to him. Developing through the Wings system is certainly a good way to do it.
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#4 Aussie_Wing

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 07:04 AM

And might I just say, the Aussies are taking over these boards. 3 (well, now 4) posts in a row in this thread. tongue.gif

Ken Holland: Hes (Mursak) a young guy, provides energy, can skate, hes a puck hound.


#5 Doggy

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 08:20 AM

TNBT is Aussie?
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#6 Aussie_Wing

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 08:10 PM

My man Ritola off to a fine start! A goal and an assist today which makes it 4 points in 3 games with a +2 rating. I'm telling you, this guy has a future in the top 6 in Detroit. thumbup.gif

Ken Holland: Hes (Mursak) a young guy, provides energy, can skate, hes a puck hound.


#7 Doggy

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 02:11 AM

I haven't had the chance to watch any Griffs games yet AW. Stats are good and all, but how has he played? What did he do to make you think he's a top 6? Because nothing I saw of him last season suggested that.

He can be streaky too, so his point production over three games isn't a great sample size. Hopefully he can keep it up because scoring hasn't been his strong-suit.

Edited by Doggy, 22 October 2008 - 02:28 AM.

Rough as guts.

#8 Aussie_Wing

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 11:34 PM

QUOTE (Doggy @ October 22, 2008 - 02:11AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I haven't had the chance to watch any Griffs games yet AW. Stats are good and all, but how has he played? What did he do to make you think he's a top 6? Because nothing I saw of him last season suggested that.

He can be streaky too, so his point production over three games isn't a great sample size. Hopefully he can keep it up because scoring hasn't been his strong-suit.

Admittedly I havent seen much, only bits and pieces, but its more what Ive read. I do a lot of research on our prospects and read a lot about Ritola from a variety of sources. When he first came to North America very few expected him to even stay here for over a year. He was said to be lazy and put in an inconsistent effort from shift to shift. Well in a dismal Griffins team last season he was one of the highlights. While he didnt put up a lot of points, his play was still very encouraging. Most had a pretty poor +/- ratings whereas Mattias finished at a +10. The responsibility he showed to the defensive side of his game was great considering this was one of the main queries of his game.

He was one of the last cut to begin last season and he even made his NHL debut. Once again this season he was in the last group of cuts. I think hes ranked way too harshly on both RWC and HFs prospects rankings. Is he lazy as was believed? No. Is he poor on the defensive end as was believed? No. Hes highly skilled; in fact I read from numerous posters that he displayed an eye popping skill level last season.

Hes used on the PP and in the shootout. With his skill level and ability to make plays he could be an extremely valuable player in Detroit, perhaps as soon as 2010/11. He could work pretty well with guys like Datsyuk and or Zetterberg because itll bring out his best attributes. Of course this season is still very young but he's off to a great start and looks to be doing his all to be up with Detroit one day. Kindl and Ritola are the two prospects I'm the most excited about. thumbup.gif

Ken Holland: Hes (Mursak) a young guy, provides energy, can skate, hes a puck hound.


#9 Wingman

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 11:00 AM

Seems like Ritola, as well as the other top prospects, are keeping their steam up individually.

GR top 10 as of game 9
# Player GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH S S%
11 Ville Leino 8 4 9 13 6 0 1 0 22 0.182
26 Landon Wilson 9 6 4 10 3 21 5 0 23 0.261
20 Darren Haydar 9 4 6 10 -4 0 2 0 31 0.129
19 Justin Abdelkader 9 7 2 9 -1 17 3 0 23 0.304
18 Mattias Ritola 9 4 5 9 2 6 0 0 23 0.174
15 Darren Helm 7 1 8 9 3 0 0 0 30 0.033
7 Garrett Stafford 9 1 4 5 4 4 0 0 17 0.059
17 Francis Pare 4 3 1 4 3 0 0 0 12 0.250
5 Jakub Kindl 9 1 3 4 -3 10 0 0 20 0.050
3 Logan Pyett 8 0 4 4 2 0 0 0 8 0.000

Sorry to break the Aussie dominance btw wink.gif

Edit: the table formatting didn't turn out as well-aligned as I hoped...sorry 'bout that.

Edited by Wingman, 08 November 2008 - 11:06 AM.

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#10 Aussie_Wing

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 09:55 AM

Link
QUOTE
RWC REPORT: Ritola rising in Grand Rapids
By Matthew Wuest - RedWingsCentral.com / November 10, 2008

Less than two years ago, Mattias Ritola couldn't crack the point-per-game barrier in little more than a beer league, Sweden's third level.

The Detroit Red Wings, unfazed, signed him anyway, excited by his high skill level and hopeful his talent would rise to the forefront once they got him in the American Hockey League with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

It's looking like they made the right decision.

In just his second year in the AHL, the 21-year-old right-winger has emerged as a point-per-game player and a fast-rising NHL prospect.

Ritola is fourth in Griffins scoring with four goals and six assists for 10 points in 10 games along with 24 shots and a plus-1. He plays on a scoring line and both special teams and is evolving into a well-rounded player who has a chance at finding a role with the Red Wings in the next couple of years.

The 6-foot, 192-pounder had 22 points all of last season as a rookie. He also made his NHL debut much earlier than anybody ever anticipated, getting three games with the Red Wings and serving as a Black Ace in the playoffs.

One of the biggest knocks on Ritola since being drafted is that he's lazy and doesn't come to play every shift, every night. But he has improved, learning to compete, win battles and go into the dirty areas to produce offence.

Finally getting some recognition! thumbup.gif When you think about it's he's come a long way in a short space of time. At only 21 year of age he's got a very bright future.

Ken Holland: Hes (Mursak) a young guy, provides energy, can skate, hes a puck hound.


#11 Aussie_Wing

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 08:57 PM

Anyone else convinced now? Just scored his team leading 15th goal of the season, has 28 points in 39 games.

Get excited people. thumbup.gif

Ken Holland: Hes (Mursak) a young guy, provides energy, can skate, hes a puck hound.


#12 Dimaline312000

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 03:05 PM

Ritola is a good young player and I think he'll be on the Wings roster next season, depending on what happens with our forwards and who stays and goes. He has a real good chance and making this team real real soon.

#13 titanium2

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 03:23 PM

QUOTE (Aussie_Wing @ January 14, 2009 - 09:57PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Anyone else convinced now? Just scored his team leading 15th goal of the season, has 28 points in 39 games.

Get excited people. thumbup.gif


How do you think Ritola's playmaking ability would fit on a line with Zetterberg and Franzen? Those two can really shoot the puck and so I think if they had someone who can set them up from time to time then you'd have a line that could be quite dangerous.

Think he'll make the team next year?

Edited by titanium2, 09 April 2009 - 03:29 PM.


#14 Motown4013

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 01:57 PM

QUOTE (Aussie_Wing @ January 14, 2009 - 09:57PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Anyone else convinced now? Just scored his team leading 15th goal of the season, has 28 points in 39 games.

Get excited people. thumbup.gif


I am still not convinced. I think his numbers in GR are impressive BUT i saw him in training camp 10 months ago and when you put him up against even our 3rd line boys, he is obviously out of place.
Remember how we were all hand clapping for Jimmy Howard? When he finally came up in February, he played horrid and was clearly not in the same class as NHL goalies. It doesnt help that our D sucked but ...thats what I feel about Ritola.
Maybe he needs a few more years but he is NOT ready now (unless he had a talent outbreak in the last 10 months)
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#15 Aussie_Wing

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 03:36 AM

He's a highly skilled guy with good size and playmaking abilities. Had a good year in Grand Rapids playing in all situations. His season went to ruin in the latter half due to injuries but I honestly think put him in a high skill environment like the Wings and he would shine.

Edited by Aussie_Wing, 20 June 2009 - 03:37 AM.

Ken Holland: Hes (Mursak) a young guy, provides energy, can skate, hes a puck hound.


#16 eva unit zero

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 08:05 PM

QUOTE (titanium2 @ April 9, 2009 - 04:23PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How do you think Ritola's playmaking ability would fit on a line with Zetterberg and Franzen?


Not nearly as well as Hudler's.
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#17 wingfanatic4alltime

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 04:39 PM

I cant wait to see him play, does any one with helm, leino and Abby getting a full time spot if Mattias will be the first call up.
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#18 titanium2

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 03:43 AM

QUOTE (Aussie_Wing @ June 20, 2009 - 04:36AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
He's a highly skilled guy with good size and playmaking abilities. Had a good year in Grand Rapids playing in all situations. His season went to ruin in the latter half due to injuries but I honestly think put him in a high skill environment like the Wings and he would shine.


Ever read this article. It's a good'un.

QUOTE


Hakan Andersson wasn't sure about the reports he was getting.

Mattias Ritola is working hard? No way. He's running at the crack of dawn? You must be joking. The lazy guy with the bad reputation? Yeah, sure.

"I said, 'This is not the Ritola I have seen,'" the Detroit Red Wings' director of European scouting told NHL.com. "I did some more research and then I met him and he said, 'I want to get rid of this label on me.' So we decided to pick him."

That was the summer of 2005, after a season in which Ritola's reputation as a lazy player cost him hours of ice time in Sweden.

Fast forward to today, and Ritola, who the Red Wings selected in the fourth round of the 2005 Entry Draft, is one of Detroit's emerging forward prospects. He earned his chance in North America only because he has combined his obvious talent with strong work habits.

"When I was younger, I was always the guy at the far blue line that would score goals," Ritola told NHL.com. "Then, I had a huge problem being a professional hockey player back home. I didn't work, so I didn't play. When I got here, I recognized this is my last chance."

Ritola is 21 now, and for the second straight season is playing a regular shift with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins. His motivation isn't to show everyone back home in Sweden that they were wrong about him.

"They weren't wrong," he said. "I was wrong."

Instead, Ritola is trying to prove to the Red Wings they were right to gamble on him in 2005.

"He came over and said, 'I'm done in Sweden. Because of my past, people think I'm lazy,'" Andersson said. "He's turning himself into a different player over here."

Ritola's struggles back home didn't end after the Red Wings drafted him. He was admittedly miserable for the next two years.

He didn't play well enough to stay in the Swedish Elite League during the 2005-06 season, and wound up playing for three organizations in three leagues, none being the SEL, in 2006-07.

In 107 games during two seasons, Ritola had 17 goals and 24 assists. He was left off Sweden's National Junior Team in 2007 after scoring four points in six games at the 2006 World Junior Championship in British Columbia.

"He was eligible and the Swedes didn’t pick him for the team, which doesn’t happen a lot," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told NHL.com. "Obviously they were giving him a message. I thought he played pretty well in British Columbia."

Following his disastrous 2006-07 campaign, Ritola left Sweden, saying there was nothing for him there. Amazingly, the Red Wings still believed enough to sign him to a three-year entry-level contract.

"I was so happy that Detroit signed me," Ritola said. "When I was 17 I had a name back home. I was good. After two seasons I barely played at all and I just disappeared. When I came here I recognized this is really my last chance to do something with my hockey."

Thanks to the pushing of Jiri Fischer, the Wings' director of player development, and the prodding of the entire organization, including Holland, assistant GM Jim Nill, coach Mike Babcock and especially Andersson, Ritola finally appears to be on the right path.

He had seven goals and 15 assists in 72 games last season with Grand Rapids. Holland said Griffins then-coach Mike Stothers limited Ritola's ice time early in the season because he wasn't working, but by the end of the season he was playing a regular shift.

"I saw some games where, I can't say he was the best player on the ice, but he was one of the better players," Holland said. "He's got ability, but he's got to do it on a shift-by-shift basis."

The Wings also gave Ritola, who was called up for two NHL games last season and produced an assist and two shots on goal, an education during the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

"We brought him in and he sat with us throughout the entire playoff run last year to the Stanley Cup," Holland said.

Ritola's eyes were wide open. He observed intently.

"I didn't believe it until I saw it," he said. "You see (Henrik) Zetterberg. He plays 30 minutes a game and after the game he went right back on the bike. Some guys need to see it and some guys just have it. I saw it and I recognized that’s what I need to do."

This summer, the Wings used Ritola on their top line at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. He skated on the left wing with high-end prospects Justin Abdelkader and Jan Mursak, producing two points and a plus-1 rating in four games.

Ritola didn't have much of a chance to make the Wings out of training camp this season considering their incredible forward depth, but he had an assist and was a plus-1 in the Griffins' 4-3 season-opening loss to the Lake Erie Monsters on Oct. 11. Through 18 games, he has six goals and six assists.

"I feel like I'm a totally different player," Ritola said. "I like to work. I like to compete. Look at (Pavel) Datsyuk. He's got the best hands in the world, but he works his tail off all the time, every game. You need to do that to get your career going.

"It took me two years to recognize it, but I did and now I want to keep going."

http://theahl.com/ne...article_id=9101


#19 Aussie_Wing

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 11:15 AM

Thanks man, don't think I'd read that one. thumbup.gif

I really like Mattias, love his attitude and love his skill level. He's obviously shown the Wings something they really like this pre-season as he's still with Detroit and hasn't been assigned to Grand Rapids yet. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he can produce with the Griffins this season. He's never going to be amazing offensively but he's got a nice all-round game that I'm hoping will slot nicely on a 3rd line in a season or two.

Ken Holland: Hes (Mursak) a young guy, provides energy, can skate, hes a puck hound.


#20 titanium2

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 03:59 PM

QUOTE (Aussie_Wing @ September 26, 2009 - 12:15PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks man, don't think I'd read that one. thumbup.gif

I really like Mattias, love his attitude and love his skill level. He's obviously shown the Wings something they really like this pre-season as he's still with Detroit and hasn't been assigned to Grand Rapids yet. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he can produce with the Griffins this season. He's never going to be amazing offensively but he's got a nice all-round game that I'm hoping will slot nicely on a 3rd line in a season or two.


Yeah I've heard comparisons from PJ Axelsson to Dan Cleary. I would imagine that whenever Joakim Andersson gets to DET that he would be a great center to go with Ritola. Those two along with someone with some skilled sandpaper and you have a shut down line that can chip in some offense; a line with some real potential.





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