The Flames‘ focal point for today’s Trade Deadline was dealing expiring UFA Kris Russell. After much speculation with very little movement, he has finally been traded to the Dallas Stars for Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Pollock, and a conditional second round pick.
Russell has been a top minutes player for the Flames the past few years, rising from relative unknown to deadline prize. He has been praised/vilified for his shot blocking, depending on how much you value analytics. Those who like him want his defensive value, his unquestionable commitment to the team, and certainly his intangible values. Those who don't will disparage him for his possession stats and his minor offensive contributions.
Whatever side of the coin you fall on, you have to agree that the Flames could not afford him. Earlier this month, Bob McKenzie reported that he wanted around 5yr/$25M, and a report from this morning suggested that he could want a similar contract to Jeff Petry (6yr/$33M). Brian Burke confirmed this in his interviews with TSN and Sportsnet, reiterating that the two parties were far apart and that an extension was not happening.
The Flames did get a good return for the defenceman, including another NHL defenceman. Jokipakka is a 24 year old, second year defender with the Stars. The former seventh round pick is still developing, and at this point in the rebuild, youth helps. Brett Pollock was Dallas’ second round pick two years ago. He’s a big (6’2″, 194 lbs) center/left winger who is scoring a lot in the WHL for the Edmonton Oil.
The second round pick will make you a fan of the Stars. If they advance to the Western Conference Finals, and Kris Russell plays at least half of the games in the first two rounds, it becomes a first round pick. Go Stars!
Best of luck in Dallas, Kris.
by xx xx