Kris Russell Will “Likely” Be Traded

As the hours roll on today, we get a bit more clarity on the direction of the Calgary Flames and the future of defender Kris Russell. Some comments by Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke earlier today on Sportsnet 960 The Fan have seemingly made things a lot clearer.

Via Sportsnet’s Luke Fox (he of the awesome Twitter handle @lukefoxjukebox), Burke summarized the situation and noted that Russell will likely be traded.

“We have made a significant offer to keep him, but his agent and Rusty feel that you don’t get many chances to test the market. He thinks term-wise and money-wise he can do better, and we understand that. But that means it’s probably time to part ways. We owed Rusty a good-faith effort to sign him, but now moving forward, to fit him in with our defense and the players whose contracts are up would have to make financial sense. I don’t think we’ll be able to reach an agreement like that, so he’s likely on the move.”

Russell is in the final year of his current contract and will likely command a hefty raise due to his status as a second-pairing defender that eats up a lot of ice-time. With the Flames in a tight salary cap situation going forward, this seems to be as close to “official” confirmation as we’ll get that #4 is out the door before 1pm MT today.

  • cjc

    Sounds like we’ll dodge a bullet here. I guess Russell might be okay on the third pairing short term making third pairing dollars, but we have younger (and perhaps better) players in the pipeline.

  • MattyFranchise

    I’m guessing they offered him 3 to 3.25 with a modest term to make up for the dollars. Unfortunately for him I think that’s all he’s going to get in the summer as well. He’s a solid 5/6 defender but by no means should he be playing 25 minutes a night with a paycheck to match.

    If (when?) he gets moved today it’s gonna be for a second and a prospect at most. Two seconds is a bit too high of an ask.

  • beloch

    Russel has been out of the lineup for seven games now, and the rookies are filling in just fine. Nakladal and Wotherspoon are playing easier minutes than Russel did, but they’re also putting up better possession numbers. Russel’s CF% was 43.63% (all situations) while Wotherspoon’s is 46.34% and Nakladal’s is 58.33%. (Note: Nakladal has been given particularly easy zone starts.) Kulak’s CF% was 54.31% in his early-season cup of coffee.

    There’s no guarantee any of these guys are ready to step into Kris Russel’s role, but they’re all ready to assume more responsibility. More ready than Engelland is, at the very least. Given his age and contract status, I’d like to see Nakladal paired with Dougie Hamilton. He seems to be the most ready to step into tougher circumstances, and he clearly has some offensive upside, which Hamilton might bring out.

    The bottom line is that the Flames have a lot of options right now thanks to their prospect system. Just last season, nobody from the farm was ready and the team had to bring in players like Diaz and Schlmeko. Right now, three NHL defenders are out (Smid, Wideman, and Russel) and the team is doing fine without them, plus they have another promising guy (Kulak) who has yet to play.

    Yes, I know. The Flames are losing more often than winning right now, but that’s going to happen in any seven game stretch where your goalies average 0.875, which is absolutely brutal. Defense is far from being the Flames’ biggest problem right now.

    The Flames are in an ideal position to walk away from Russel. While Hudler was a bigger loss to this team, here’s hoping the market price for Russel is higher!

  • everton fc

    Looks like Russell may be the only one moving today. Looks like Jones will play out hos contract here. Ditto Hiller.

    No moves for Bollig, Wideman… Engelland…

    Seems like it, anyway….

  • Backburner

    I wonder if Oilers have any interest.. seriously?

    I mean they claimed Cracknell and Pardy??

    I always scratch my head at the Oil Tankers.. a team that’s desperate for D, and they refuse to pull the trigger on any decent ones available:

    – Could of had Leddy and Boychuk for picks, passed on that.

    – Never sign any decent free agents..

    – Even Prince and Weircoch are available for mid round picks, and they pick up Cracknell and Pardy??


    We should at least offer Wideman..