The mysterious case of Kris Russell has extended into the month of September, but there might just be an end in sight for the UFA defenseman.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the 29-year-old puck-moving blueliner is in serious talks with eight NHL teams and is expected to sign prior to the start of training camp.
Pure radio fodder. However, Russell is in serious discussions with 8 teams and is expected to sign before camp. https://t.co/8of8y6uhtd
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) September 6, 2016
Back on July 1, Kris Russell likely didn’t expect to be on the open market when the month of September hit, but that is what has happened.
The original report was that he was waiting for teams to clear cap room prior to signing, but there might be more to the situation than that.
Regardless, this is a player that certainly has a lot of teams knocking on his door. More than a fourth of the league is reportedly having serious discussions with the former Blue Jacket, Blue, Flame and Star.
Despite putting up some ugly advanced numbers over his career, Russell is still highly regarded as a puck-mover and shot blocker.
Over his 573-game NHL career, he has accumulated 139 assists and 177 total points. He posted a career-high 30 assists and 34 points with the Calgary Flames in 2014-15. This past season, Russell finished second in the NHL with 210 blocked shots.
Trying to guess the teams interested in Russell at this point would be pure speculation. However, reports did surface early in the summer that the Florida Panthers had talks with the player. Other teams that struggled on the blueline last season are the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators and Arizona Coyotes, just to name a few.
The New Jersey Devils could also be a destination given that they dealt Adam Larsson to Edmonton this offseason.