As the free agency period continues it seems as if the push for defenseman Kris Russell has diminished. Russell who was traded to Dallas from Calgary around deadline day last season is still in search of a contract for next season. Russell is a very serviceable defenseman that is known for his shot blocking capabilities. He may just be the best in the league in this category. He has taken some criticism on his consistency, and analytics experts have had a field day critiquing his play. This along with a below average performance in Dallas has lead to a decline in his worth.
The fact of the matter is that Russell played very well for the Calgary Flames, and the Flames really wanted to retain his services. The money (at the time just did not work out), but that may have changed.
Scott Lewis of Sportsnet reported that the Boston Bruins were interested in Russell, and that the Toronto Maple Leafs offered Russell a 4 year $17 million dollar deal. Russell quickly turned that deal down. Talk also centered around Vancouver, but that has now been denied. Colorado, Carolina, and New Jersey all need defensive help, and have cap space available. Any of these three could be an option.
Another option would be returning to Calgary. Russell is a Calgary native, and has made it clear that he loved his time in Calgary. He also had his best production years in Calgary. Is this return possible? Well the Flames would love to bolster their blueline, and have always thought highly of Russell. The cap space may be tight, and nothing at all can happen until the Flames lock up restricted free-agents Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. If the Flames can get them signed at a reasonable price tag, and Russell would be willing to take an offer similar to what Toronto offered him, it might just work. Honestly a return to Calgary would help the Flames and Russell. Sometimes it is best to go with what works….