A two time WHL Top Defenseman of the year AND the 2006-07 WHL Most Outstanding Player of the year, Kris Russell now has seven NHL seasons under his belt.
During his final season in the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Russell scored 32 goals. In 432 NHL games, Kris Russell has collected 30 goals.
Obviously the game is a tad bigger, stronger, faster at the NHL level than it is at the WHL level. Russell has plenty of the “faster” in his game to play and succeed in the NHL. It’s the bigger, stronger aspect of the NHL that puts Russell at a disadvantage. Russell is listed at 5’10”, 173 pounds. From a Globe and Mail article heading into last season:
This season (2013-14), the average height and weight in the league is up slightly, to 6-foot-1.3 and 203.7 pounds.
Mr. Russell, at the age 27, is not going to go through a magical growth spurt of five inches and forty pounds to catch up with the average league size. However, on a Calgary Flame team starved for offense, if Russell were to put more focus on shooting the puck…good things are bound to happen. Last season, Kris Russell set a career high for shots on goal in a season with 109. In direct co-relation, Russell tied his career high for goals in a season with 7. I still remember watching this overtime winner against the Chicago Blackhawks:
The next game after the dramatic overtime win in Chicago, the Calgary Flames came out flat and lost to the Minnesota Wild. This apparently led to a story on CBCsports.ca unveiling the following golden nugget - -did you know Kris Russell’s father used to be a rodeo bullfighter?
…father Doug, known as Shanky, spent 14 years as a rodeo bullfighter. A bullfighter is a bull rider’s best friend and is often mistaken for a rodeo clown. But there is a big difference. The rodeo clown entertains the audience, while a bullfighter’s job is to protect the cowboys from the angry bulls.
Well that explains some of the grit and determination that Kris Russell brings to the Calgary Flames!
I am not here suggesting that Kris Russell is a top pairing defenseman. I am here suggesting that for the duration of the two year contract that Russell signed with the Calgary Flames back in February, that he will be a steady second pairing defenseman with some untapped potential on the powerplay.
Agree or disagree Flame For Thought family?