On Monday Rissanen's decision was vindicated.
The Everett Silvertips defenseman took the first step in his North American professional career when he signed a three-year entry-level deal with the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes.
"It's a great feeling," said Rissanen, who put pen to paper Monday morning. "It was my goal when I came here. I'm really excited to go there and play hockey for them."
The 19-year-old Rissanen was a sixth-round selection by Carolina in the 2009 NHL draft. Days later he was selected by Everett in the first round (17th overall) of the Canadian Hockey League import draft.
Rissanen spent the past two seasons with the Tips. This season the stay-at-home d-man had one goal, 11 assists and 89 penalty minutes in 68 games while serving as one of Everett's alternate captains. He also represented Finland at this year's World Junior Hockey Championships.
"(The Hurricanes) were happy with how I played this season," Rissanen said. "They want me to play the same way. I'll have to play better in the future, but they don't want me to change my style. They want me to be what I am."
Rissanen will join Carolina's American Hockey League affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, for the remainder of the season. Rissanen said he did not know whether he would get into any games.
Rissanen became the second of Everett's potential 2011-12 overagers to sign an NHL contract. Center Landon Ferraro signed with the Detroit Red Wings earlier in the seasons. Since signed players are eligible to play professionally in the minors during their 20-year-old seasons, Rissanen and Ferraro are less likely to return to Everett as overagers next season.
Check out Nick Patterson's Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.
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