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Matty Franchise: F
With the unfortunate passing of War On Ice I'm just going to do a by the basic numbers approach via Puckalytics.com Kris Russell, in a nutshell, is thus: 960 even strength minutes played. Corsi For? Negative by a long shot, probably the worst on the team after Wideman at 44.1%. Corsi For Relative? -4.7. Goals For? 46.3%. Also probably near the worst on the team. Zone Starts? 49.2%. He was given middling starts on a team that couldn't score. When other teams were shooting the puck in his direction, he made the team worse. He was given every inch of rope and couldn't make the puck go in the right direction. Why Bob Hartley chose to play him in circumstances that were beyond his ability I'll never know. How Treliving managed to get 3 assets for him is an even greater mystery. His regular partner, Dennis Wideman , at least has some redeeming qualities aside from his contract. Kris Russell? Not so much.
Kris Russell for me was another one of those players that didn't live up to their potential, yet was still valuable enough to get something in return if he were traded...as he was. His points per game this past season was a dismal 0.29 which is significantly down from last season's 0.43. His plus/minus this past season was -5 compared to last season's +18. I am trying real hard to grade these players individually, but I think the team struggling as a whole may have brought down the play of some players, including Russell. I give him a C.
Kris Russell was trash in 2014-2015, but he was bailed out by Dennis Wideman going crazy and putting up 55 points. Russell was trash in 2015-2016 and Wideman was also trash, thus Russell actually looked the part of trash. He's a sub-par defenseman that was barely serviceable at even strength if he could even be considered serviceable at all. He was decent on the penalty kill, but he was such a horrid player at even strength that he wasn't worth keeping around particularly for the money that he was going to command. He's gone now and the Flames are better off for it.
When the trade deadline was approaching I thought to myself "who could Calgary give up and easily live without?" The answer was Kris Russell. I get that Kris Russell's deal is that he blocks shots, but that's about it. When you immediately think of him as a guy the team could live without, I think that says it all. The Flames moved him for another defenceman and a draft pick and I think the Flames will make out in that deal in the end. At 28 years old Russell isn't getting young and all those blocked shots will take their toll at some point. Calgary made the right move in dealing him. He offers little outside of being able to take a beating blocking shots. D
I mean I've never disliked Russell by simply watching him play and I've appreciated the effort and determination that he showed in every game, but the underlying statistics that have been following him his whole career were shown this season. His drawbacks were especially shown we he played with Dennis Wideman who was just as bad as he was. Considering the Flames originally got him back in 2013 for a 5th round pick, I can't complain too much. However with the money he was rumored to be asking for this offseason, I'm glad the Flames managed to move him at the deadline. The fact that we got three good assets back for him still surprises me and I still don't know how Brad Treliving pulled that off. His work ethic and shot blocking save Russell from being a D grade but just barely. C-
Samwell9 - D
Basically as everyone else has said, Kris Russell is not a very good defenseman. He does some little things well in the games that makes him look okay for fleeting moments, but there is just so much in his game that is a complete anchor on the team when he is on the ice. Everything worked out for Russell last season even though his possession stats were absolutely dismal, this season he was dominated right from the start and the goals kept going in. I am not in management of an NHL team so maybe they see things us common folk do not, but I cannot understand how Dallas traded 3 assets for him. I will not be surprised if some team signs him for a long-term deal for significant money this summer, but it is not the right move and they will regret it. Canucks or Oilers please? I gave Russell a D but the more I think about it, the more I want to give him an F.