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April 1, 1960 |
|Height||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Weight||165 lb (75 kg; 11 st 11 lb)|
New York Rangers
New Jersey Devils
Zürich SC Lions
|NHL Draft||119th overall, 1980
New York Rangers
- 1 Playing career
- 1.1 Kärpät (1975–1981)
- 1.2 New York Rangers (1981–1986)
- 1.3 SC Bern (1986)
- 1.4 Edmonton Oilers (1986–1987)
- 1.5 HV71 (1987–1988)
- 1.6 SC Bern (1988–1989)
- 1.7 New Jersey Devils (1989–1990)
- 1.8 Edmonton Oilers (1990)
- 1.9 SC Bern (1990–1993)
- 1.10 Kärpät (1993)
- 1.11 Tappara (1993–1994)
- 1.12 SC Bern (1994–1995)
- 1.13 KalPa (1995)
- 1.14 ZSC Lions (1995–1996)
- 1.15 Kärpät (1996–1998)
- 2 International career
- 3 Awards and achievements
- 4 Career statistics
- 5 Awards and honors
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Reijo Ruotsalainen started his career in Kärpät. From his early days, "Reksa" was recognized as a talented defenseman while playing for Kärpät Junior teams.
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, and Ruotsalainen along with Kärpät got to enjoy their first medals in SM-liiga history.
The 1980–81 season proved to be a breakthrough for Ruotsalainen. Kärpät broke their way through to finals against Tappara. Before the fifth and decisive game, the series was tied 2 games to 2. After the first period, Tappara was leading 2-0 but Kärpät made a spectacular comeback and won the game 5-2.
After his first Championship in SM-liiga, Ruotsalainen headed to NHL.
New York Rangers (1981–1986)
Ruotsalainen was signed by the New York Rangers of the NHL in 1981. During his debut season, Ruotsalainen scored 56 points in 78 games.
Ruotsalainen, initially paired on defense with Barry Beck, was eventually moved to forward. His Head Coach Herb Brooks said that Ruotsalainen was the best skater in NHL. Ruotsalainen's fluid skating helped him compensate for his lack of size (Ruotsalainen was 1,73m tall).
Ruotsalainen had his NHL-career high in points during the 1984–85 NHL season, when he scored 73 points in 80 games and led the Rangers in scoring. Ruotsalainen played in the 1986 NHL All-Star game.
SC Bern (1986)
Ruotsalainen's contract expired after the conclusion of the 1985–86 NHL season. Ruotsalainen was without a team before the start of the 1986–87 NHL season, and accepted an offer from SC Bern, a Swiss team that played in Swiss Nationalliga A.
Ruotsalainen played in 35 games and scored 53 points for SC Bern before returning to the NHL.
Edmonton Oilers (1986–1987)
Ruotsalainen was signed by the Edmonton Oilers for the remainder of the 1986–87 NHL season. Ruotsalainen was given a spot on the top line of the Oilers. Edmonton had a great team which included Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri and Mark Messier.
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.
SC Bern (1988–1989)
After his single season in Sweden, Ruotsalainen was again contracted by SC Bern. Ruotsalainen played a single season for SC Bern, scoring 46 points in 36 games.
New Jersey Devils (1989–1990)
Edmonton Oilers (1990)
Ruotsalainen was traded to Edmonton Oilers after 31 games. In Edmonton, Ruotsalainen won his second Stanley Cup as the Oilers won the Cup for the fifth time, the first without Wayne Gretzky.
SC Bern (1990–1993)
Ruotsalainen decided to return to Europe after his contract with Oilers had expired. Ruotsalainen returned to Switzerland and played for SC Bern, yet again.
Ruotsalainen's tenure in Bern lasted for three seasons. Ruotsalainen scored 38 points during his first season back in Bern.
Ruotsalainen decided to return to his "home team" when he was contracted by Kärpät which by time was relegated back to 1. Divisioona.
Ruotsalainen got to play 4 games for Kärpät, scoring 6 points.
Ruotsalainen was acquired by SM-liiga team Tappara for reminder of 1993–94 season. Ruotsalainen played six regular season games with Tappara and scored 6 points. Ruotsalainen played in the SM-liiga Playoffs with 3 points in 9 games. Tappara however did not have any success in the playoffs and they were eliminated by TPS in Semifinals.
SC Bern (1994–1995)
After his returning season to Finland, Ruotsalainen accepted a contract offer from SC Bern for 1994–95 season. Ruotsalainen played 19 games for SC Bern and had 10 points.
Ruotsalainen returned to Finland for 1995–96 season and played for KalPa. Ruotsalainen had 16 games for KalPa and scored 8 points on them.
ZSC Lions (1995–1996)
Ruotsalainen was contracted mid-season to Swiss team ZSC Lions, where he played 18 games with 15 points.
After his season in Zürich, Ruotsalainen decided to end his career in Finland. Ruotsalainen played 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 1998.
Ruotsalainen's Jersey #10 is currently retired by Kärpät. 
Lacking size, Ruotsalainen made his mark in NHL as a fluid skater. New York Rangers head coach Herb Brooks said he was the best skater in NHL. He played in the NHL all-star game in 1986.
|Men's ice hockey|
|World Junior Championships|
|European Junior Championships|
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 was named best defenceman. 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. 
He is a member of the Finnish Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.
Awards and achievements
- 1986–87 - NHL - Stanley Cup (Edmonton)
- 1989–90 - NHL - Stanley Cup (Edmonton)
- Ranked No. 82 on the all-time list of New York Rangers in the book 100 Ranger Greats (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).
Regular season and playoffs
|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|
|1989–90||New Jersey Devils||NHL||31||2||5||7||14||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and honors
- Directorate Award, Best Defenseman, 1980 IIHF world junior hockey championships
- Collins gem Hockey Facts and Stats 2009-10, p.512, Andrew Podnieks, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, Toronto, Canada, ISBN 978-1-55468-621-6
- Reijo Ruotsalainen's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- Reijo Ruotsalainen on nhlfinns.com
- A to Z of Ice Hockey
|Winner of the Pekka Rautakallio trophy
1979-80 & 1980-81