Unrestricted free agent defenseman Kris Russell remains unsigned as we near the second week of August, but there is a reason for it.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Russell is waiting for prospective teams to clear cap space before he signs a new NHL deal.
Kris Russell camp is still waiting for a few teams to clear money. Free agency can be a tough waiting game.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) August 4, 2016
Among the teams rumored to be interested in the former third-round draft pick are the Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. According to reports, the Florida Panthers had discussions with him back in mid-July.
Russell, 29, is coming off of a two-year, $5.2 million contract, which he signed with the Calgary Flames. He spent the first five years of his professional career with the Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues prior to signing in Calgary during the 2013 offseason. The Flames dealt him to the Stars as a rental player at the 2016 trade deadline.
In 573 NHL games, the Red Deer, Alberta native has netted 38 goals and 177 points. He is one season removed from racking up a career-high 34 points.
Russell finished second in blocked shots this past season with 210. He was 46 blocks behind league-leader Francois Beauchemin, who finished with 256.
The two-way blueliner is coming off of a down year in terms of producing points. He finished the 2015-16 campaign with just 19 points and a minus-five rating in 62 games.
Despite some ugly advanced statistics, Kris Russell still seems to be drawing some interest from NHL clubs. All signs point to him signing with a team prior to the start of training camp, even though things are moving pretty slow as of now.