Just two days into his free agency, Notre Dame defenseman Robbie Russo has found a home. The Detroit Red Wings have signed Russo to a two-year, entry-level contract, the team announced on Sunday.
Russo was drafted in the 4th round (95th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders, but the Islanders decided not to offer Russo a contract, which propelled him into free agency this summer.
The defenseman was just slightly over a point per game player for Notre Dame, logging 15 goals and 26 assists through 40 games from the blue line. Those 41 points had him ranked second on the team overall. He was also second among collegiate defensemen in points, behind the University of Minnesota’s Mike Reilly (now signed with the Minnesota Wild after hitting free agency in a very different way).
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 16, 2015
Russo was a strong player in the NCAA, but will have his work cut out to make the NHL squad. Of the 10 defensemen who played for the Red Wings last year, only Marek Zidlicky has left and he has ostensibly been replaced by Mike Green. There are a good handful of solid 25 and under defensive prospects in Detroit and he’ll be fighting with them for time, particularly if Alexey Marchenko or Xavier Ouellet are able to step up in a serious way this season.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.