This summer, the online Oilers community is unlikely to explode as it did last summer, mostly because the team has no Taylor Hall to trade. Unless Peter Chiarelli can find a deal big enough to trade the Nuge and Jordan Eberle on the same day, we’re going to have to rage watch the activities with less dynamite for the explosion.
One thing that could drive us wild and crazy? Signing Kris Russell. The patented “Oilers fracture” online is already set up, with troops from each side amassed along the border and each picking away at the other side. No blood yet, but we’re hopeful.
How bad/good is Kris Russell? Depends on your point of view, as it seems to be in so many areas of life these days. Coach Todd McLellan clearly loves him (plays the daylights out of him) and the general manager is onside with bringing Russell back, as long as the money and term are right and the bigger pieces fit in ahead of the KR deal.
What’s wrong with that? Depends on your point of view and how you evaluate defenders. Most Oilers fans and observers can be convinced to agree that Russell’s one-year deal (at $3.1 million dollars) was reasonable value. Most. Some think it was a great deal and those blasted numbers tell you whatever you want to hear (not really, but it seems like it sometimes).
If you look at straight Corsi for 5×5, Russell does not show well:
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 46.4
- Corsi Rel 5×5 %: -5.8
If you look at the new (and innovative) metric being touted by Woodmoney (which measures Dangerous Fenwick against specific levels of opposition) Russell looks about average (compared to other Oilers defensemen) against elite competition:
- DFF Elite 5×5 %: 47.8
- DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %: -1.1 (35 percent of TOI v. elites)
I will tell you that’s about the same as Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera and Adam Larsson in the measure, with all four men spending about 35 percent of their icetime against elite competition. The Woodmoney site will be up soon, and I promise to link to it immediately upon completion.
- Note: A quick explanation is required. Corsi for 5×5 above is the ratio of shots for and against (any shot at the net) while a specific player is on the ice.
- Dangerous Fenwick is explained here. I think this is the future of analytics, and highly recommend reading it.
On the other hand, Russell led the Oilers in 5×5 shots-against 60 (27.44) with a solid number. That ranked him No. 40 league wide for 2016-17. I think the Oilers value those shots-against measurements and that may be a reason the club values Russell so highly.
So, what does reasonable look like when it comes to a Kris Russell contract? Earlier today, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug had a lash at it during his regular hit with Dustin Nielson and Wil Fraser on TSN1260:
- Ryan Rishaug: “I don’t think the Oilers are going to overspend on Russell. I don’t think you’re going to see a four-year deal at $4.5 million dollars. If they can get him in with a contract that makes sense, they would love to have them back.” Source
Seems reasonable, right? If it’s two years at reasonable coin, I expect most fans will be happy enough, but it’s also true other teams (Calgary?) will have plenty of interest. There may be a little extra urgency to get a deal done with Russell, as the injury to Andrej Sekera means the defense is already weaker compared to one year ago.
Question: Would you prefer a two-year, $3.9 million (per year) deal or a three-year contract at $3.5 million per season? Or, and I’d like to know, is any contract offered to Kris Russell unacceptable to you?