Kris Russell’s NMC Means Nothing! Here’s Why!

Ever since Kris Russell signed his 4yr deal last summer he’s been a beacon of shit talk for a portion of the Oilers fanbase. Most have said that the contract is too long or he’s being paid too much or both because he’s no better than a 3rd pairing defenseman in the NHL.

I can understand why some folks feel that way because this season I’ve found myself getting frustrated with him but not for his contract or where’s playing in the lineup. For me, it’s more about his slow puck moving. I know why he gives up the zone easily and I know why he always banks it off the glass and out. But he usually redeems himself with a goal-saving shot block and I believe a player should be compensated for not only the plays he makes but also the plays he stops. I think we can add that a player who sacrifices himself as much as Russell does for his team, and that’s another reason I have no problems with his contract.

Getting back to the title of this post and why Kris Russell’s NMC means nothing. Well, this is because a lot of fans/bloggers are misinformed and forgetful of what clauses are actually in Russell’s contract.

Below is Russell’s contract details courtesy of Capfriendly.

What you’ll notice beside 2017/18 and 2018/19 in the clause column are no-movement clauses but when we go to Spotrac’s website we see something different.

The NMCs are gone…

So who are we to believe? Capfriendly or Spotrac?

If you go back and read the mainstream sports outlets like TSN or Sportsnet or the sponsored Oilers blogs like, The Cult of Hockey, Oilersnation, Copper and Blue, or Oil on Whyte, you’ll find that nobody reported Kris Russell’s contract including an NMC or a NTC in the first two years of the deal.

I’ll be honest, I was under the impression that he’d cuffed himself to the Oilers for all 4 years. I was wrong and I’m betting a lot of other people are too.

So here’s the thing. If he’s got no clauses in his contract for this year or next, why can’t he be traded to a team who needs a defender who can play both sides and has cap space. He’s mobile and fearless to boot!

Even with the modified-NTC in his final two years, his real money comes down from $4M to $1.5M in the last year.

And we haven’t even talk about how his contract is expansion friendly. Meaning he’s not protected by a clause and can be exposed for the Seattle expansion draft.

Personally, I think he’s quite equipped for playoff hockey more than others in the league and would be a perfect addition for a team looking for depth on the backend for their run to Lord Stanley’s cup.

Do you think a $4M cap hit is too much for a team with a shat-ton of cap space like Carolina who is right in the thick of the playoff race in the Eastern conference and without a dman who is over the age of 26! As if Klaus Dahlbeck is a better defender than Russell.

One team I wonder about would be Anaheim. At least to me, they seem like a club that wouldn’t mind adding another dman like Russell for the next few years. I don’t see any of their prospects being ready to come up quite yet and their older players like Kevin Bieksa (36 yrs old) and Francois Beauchemin (37 yrs old) are on expiring contracts ($4M for Bieksa and $1M for Beauchemin). We all know how much veteran coaches like veteran players too, right?

As for the type of return the Oilers would get for the Caroline Cowboy, I think anything that opens up cap space at this point. I’d target a guy like Ondrej Kase on Anaheim and if Carolina were the other team, they’ve got a few nice prospects like Aleksi Saarela, Warren Foegele, or Lucas Wallmark in their system performing well.

I really like Russell but my feeling is that it’s either him, Klefbom (no thanks), or Sekera, that’ll have to be moved to make room for a right-handed defenseman next season. I’m hoping that guy is Mike Green.

Bottom line, Kris Russell is definitely a player who can be moved without issue IF that’s an option for Peter Chiarelli at this moment in time.

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Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!