— OILERSYYC (@oilersyyc) June 23, 2017
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?
- 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.
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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