Four for Four on Russell

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph does Kris Russell ever cause some divide in a fanbase but you know what? I’m glad the Oilogosphere is at each other’s throats because it means the team is finally coming around. I mean when you think about it, most of us are getting into it on the Twitter machine over a no.4/5 defenseman and that’s a pretty ridiculous thing to be arguing over.

But I want Kris Russell on this team for the next four years (even though that is most likely a tad longer than warranted) and I want the Oilers to pay him for the physical sacrifices he makes to keep goals out of the net for the Edmonton Oilers and the leadership he provides to the Oilers young defensive corps.

Now that Eberle is gone, the Oilers could be in the market for a new assistant captain, why not Russell?

Here are a few of my thoughts on this impending signing:

  • Sekera is hurt, so the jump from Klefbom/Larsson to Nurse/Benning is massive. The latter two players are far too young to be given middle pairing responsibilities yet. And if either of the Swedish Twin Towers go down, the Oilers are f*cked and we’re back to tossing the young dmen to the wolves.
  • What if Darnell Nurse or Matt Benning take a step back next season? Would sure be nice to have a trusty veteran dman that can play 20 minutes per night to cover the void.
  • I think there’s a faction of the Oilogosphere that would prefer Jason Demers and I think that’s a mistake because not only did he do worse than Russell last year, his NEW team doesn’t want him, and his contract is more than what Russell may be getting.
  • Speaking of contracts, and this contradicts the previous point slightly, how painful is $4M on the cap if the team cap keeps going up every year? I think we’re going up to $75M from $73M next season, another $2M increase the following season and maybe $3M the following season, we’re up to an $80M salary cap. I think Russell’s contract would fit in there quite nicely.
  • We’ve seen Taylor Hall and now Jordan Eberle shipped out because they couldn’t find their place in the Oilers’ new system under Todd McLellan. Well, Kris Russell IS a player that fits into the Oilers system of play and he’s seemingly found perfect chemistry with a partner in Andrej Sekera AND together they make Cam Talbot turn into 1990s Dominek Hasek. How cool is that? How rare is that?
  • I think it was Woodguy that said to me that Cam Talbot’s SV% was something like .954 when Russell and Sekera were on the ice together. An unlikely thing to re-occur again and a lot of that was attributed to Sekera but my question is, why couldn’t Mark Fayne attain this sort of defensive mastery w/’Rej a couple of seasons ago?

    Join the Kris (Russell) Army and forever be protected from slap shots, wrist shots, or shots from the analytics crowd! 
  • Might the Oilers front load that 4yr contract so that the final two years are El Cheapo? I believe this was suggested by David Staples.
  • I know I was told that Chiarelli is prepared to have Kris Russell on the 3rd pairing for the last year or two of the deal even though it might piss off the fanbase and I’m not against that because, a) there’s nothing wrong with having veteran depth for your young prospects to learn from, b) he’s a wonderful skater, something that a lot of these gritty shot-blocking defenders that seem to fall off a cliff in their twilight years are not. I mean Brian Campbell is still playing.
  • To those that say you can’t have an expensive player on the 3rd pairing, I point you to Johnny Oduya ($3.75M) and Trevor Daley ($3.3M) as two perfect examples. Ideally, you want cheap bottom-pairing defenders in the 5/6 slots but it’s worked for a couple of Stanley Cup winning teams in Chicago and Pittsburgh to have more expensive options there.
  • Don’t compare this deal to the Oilers’ deal with Andrew Ference because it’s not even in the same ballpark.
  • Kris Russell is 30 years old, not 34 like Ference, and it’s obvious that he can still keep up with the game, unlike Ference.
  • Nobody is saying that Russell can’t be traded within the duration of the deal. I’m hearing that there are rumors of a full no-move clause but I can’t find it anywhere. Most likely more “end-of-the-world” Oilers fans making things up to justify their position on the signing.
  • That said, Trevor Daley had a modified-NTC but was still traded to Pittsburgh from Dallas and Johnny Oduya has had one in his contract for the past 5 seasons.
  • Lastly, if you’re one of those folks out there than believe nobody had interest in Russell last summer and that’s why the Oilers got him at the end and this is the ammunition you choose to use in your anti-Russell gun, you’re misinformed. Bob Stauffer said just yesterday w/ Elliotte Friedman on Oilers NOW that he was offered a 5-year deal worth $4.25M per year. Jason Gregor also has mentioned this but he said the team, Boston.

I think Kris Russell is a fine FINE hockey player and one that I respect a great deal for the style he plays and for the bullshit he has to put up with from ego-centric know-it-all bloggers who’ve never had the honor of having somebody sacrifice their body for them in one way or another.

Bloody hate mongers eh?

One thing I noticed during the playoffs last season was that the anti-Russell crowd was stone cold dead. Not a bloody peep out of them and maybe that’s because Kris Russell was a boss for the Oilers.

Now, if you’d rather have a Nikita Nikitin, Anton Belov, Mark Fayne, or Cam Barker, than Kris Russell or perhaps there’s a defenseman who has some wonderful Fenwick or Corsi numbers like Martin Marincin,  God save your soul because you’re lost. You’re so lost and maybe ice hockey isn’t for you. I hear knitting is an interesting hobby though.

Feel free to comment below!

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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!

  • Ke_lly

    You are wrong in saying that a 4 for 4 deal for Russell is not in the same ballpark as Ference’s deal. The problem with the contracts is identical, You get value on the dollar for the first year maybe two but a smaller player who plays a physically punishing style in his thirties will almost surely deteriorate rapidly after age 33. Russell’s contract (if this dodgy rumor is true) will be a burden on the team down the road, just like Ference. I like Russell but shorter term is the only sensible route. He is not irreplaceable.

    • Beer League Hero

      It’s not even close. Russell is a full four years younger. Ference was 34 years old when he signed that deal and Russell can actually skate. You see, it’s not like Russell is playing like Scott Stevens out there. He blocks shots, that’s his forte and players wear equipment to prevent injuries from pucks unlike a rugged defender like Brooks Orpik, who you’re seeing really fall off a cliff due to his physical style. Russell is very agile and clever and was actually an offensive dman in his younger junior days. Don’t believe the hype that he’s 100% going to decline at age 33. It hasn’t for Oduya or Daley. Why should it for Russell?

      • Ke_lly

        Save this and bring it back out in three years just to show yourself how wrong you are. I like Russell right now but he is not worth 4 x 4. I am confident you will hide from your words in three years.

  • oprah sucks

    Excellent article. Boys at hockey buzz are so clueless and I can’t read there crap any longer. I seriously don’t know how some people can view the game the way they do. So I won’t even get into this love/hate Russell thing because it’s not worth the fight. Just sit back and watch the rest choke on the results at the end of the yr. But I will add one fact that has been left out, Russell is a team fav in the dressing room also. Something this team has lacked in previous yrs.

    So let hendo, tanner and company spew there idiotic comments about Chiarelli, hall/Larson, Russell, and now how much more points eberle gets compared to strome and how bad of a move this is, cause at the end of each day hendo and friends continue to make fools of themselves.

    Never seen a gm in my life make so many “bad moves” and have that much progress in a season! Lol

    • Beer League Hero

      LOL! Excellent points!

      • Ke_lly

        I agree with you about those “critics” of Chiarelli. He’s done a very good job building a team. Those Hall trade critics make me sick. They overvalue Hall because they remember him being the savior on draft day all those years ago and they can’t let that go. Most of them put far too much faith in Corsi numbers. If any of them were blogging back when Pouliot and Fayne were signed, I will guarantee they were 100% behind those moves.

        But I still hope that 4 x 4 is not an accurate number (especially the term) because in my opinion that is too long and the team is likely going to choke on all of the long term deals they have made with guys over 30 towards the end of those contracts (Sekera, Lucic, now Russell) it is taking on too much risk imo.