According to the Oilers official Twitter account, they have signed right-winger, Patrick Russell, to a one-year contract. The undrafted Dane has spent the past two seasons with the Condors after being signed as a free agent out of St. Cloud State.
Russell, an undrafted college free agent that signed with the organization for the 2016-17 season, has a fresh one-year deal in his pocket after putting up a career-high with the Bakersfield Condors last season. In 68 games played, Russell amassed 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points, ranking him fifth in Condors team scoring. While the 25-year-old is unlikely to spend much time (or any) with the Oilers during the upcoming season, he will continue to hone his craft with the Condors as they look to get themselves back into the playoff picture.
From what I could find on the web, Russell is an offensive-minded forward with a heavy shot and above average stickhandling skills and that’s a set of tools that will surely help the Condors moving forward. While his positional awareness and two-way game are still developing, Russell has made strides year-over-year in the AHL which is likely the reason that the Oilers offered him another contract. After finishing up his two-year contract, Russell’s one-year ‘show me’ deal will give him another chance to prove to the organization that he is capable of helping the cause while also giving the Oilers the freedom to move on if things don’t work out.
At the end of the day, this is a minor league deal (money hasn’t been disclosed at the time of posting) and another little bit of housekeeping to cross off the summer to-do list as we approach the Draft.
SO WHO IS PATRICK RUSSELL?
When the Oilers sign or re-sign prospects to new deals, I always like to dive into the Google machine to try and figure out what we’ve got happening here. As always, I dug through a few news stories and scouting reports to give us all a better idea of what kind of player Russell is and what his potential may be.
A couple of years ago, before he signed his first deal with the Oilers, SB Nation College Hockey site listed Russell as the 68th best NHL Prospect that was playing in the NCAA, and the sixth best college free agent available.
From their profile:
Russell is a big bodied power forward that excels in the offensive zone. He’s not a fantastic skater, but his ability to move his feet and find open space in tough areas in front of the net make him a dangerous offensive threat. He has improved in his second season to become a more well-rounded player, by becoming better defensively and playing on the penalty kill for St. Cloud State.
Back in May, the Oilers posted an interview with Russell about his style of play and the growth of Danish hockey. From that interview:
“I like to play hard, get to the net, use my body to my advantage. I want to create a little more offense and try to take the puck to the net with me a little more, but most important is to play good defense. For our team, we have to play good defense and hope it will help us create good offense.”
“In Bakersfield, I play a lot of penalty kill. I don’t play any here. So, I’m trying to focus on playing strong 5-on-5 and on the power play, get to the front of the net and use my body, tip pucks, block the goalie’s eyes, win battles, those kind of things.”
Mick Hatten, who covered his college team for the St. Cloud Times, described Russell’s game:
Russell is 6-1 and 205 pounds, but seems to play bigger than his size lists. He plays a physical game and enjoys playing along the boards or in front of the net, two places where contact is nearly constant.
RUSSELL’S CAREER SO FAR
|2013-14||Waterloo Black Hawks||USHL||55||29||20||49||40||21|
|2014-15||St. Cloud State||NCHC||40||10||15||25||12||-5|
|2015-16||St. Cloud State||NCHC||41||20||21||41||14||24|
Source: Edmonton Oilers, Official Twitter Account, 6/8/2018 – 12:30 pm MST