This home white heavy mesh gamer by Cosby was worn by Reijo Ruotsalainen circa the early 1980’s. The New York Rangers drafted this Finnish standout in the 6th round of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft. After a lengthy career in his native Finland, and following up on a couple of 1st Team All Star seasons with Karpat Oulu, Reijo joined the NHL in 1981-82. He spent his first 5 NHL seasons with the Broadway Blueshirts, where he became an NHL All Star. Ruotsalainen then spent time with the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils in between returns to Europe, where he permanently landed in 1990-91 and spent the remaining half dozen seasons of his career. Ruotsalainen won 2 Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers dynasty, one in 1987 and the other in 1990. During his NHL prime with the Rangers, Reijo was one of the league’s finest skaters and was a huge scoring threat from the point. His first 5 NHL seasons, all with the Rangers, saw him post goal totals of 18, 16, 20, 28 and 17, quite impressive! On the international scene, Ruotsalainen represented Finland in numerous World Championships, the 1988 Olympics and 2 Canada Cups! He remains to this day one of Finland’s all-time NHL greats.
Sewn into the collar of this gamer is the Cosby, wash and size 52 tagging. The game wear on this rookie-era sweater is solid and consists of stick and slash marks, plenty of board burns, washed out bloodstains, heavy inner pilling and more than two-dozen team-sewn repairs! Ruotsalainen jerseys have been exceedingly difficult to obtain thru the years and reside on many wantlists. This hammered example has to rank in the “as good as it gets” category and therefore should attract spirited bidding, good luck!