This morning, we learned via our friends at PuckPedia that the Edmonton Oilers were working on extending Kris Russell with a new contract and we now know that it is a one-year deal worth $1.25 million.
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) October 21, 2020
Entering the final year of his four-year deal, many expected that Kris Russell would be traded this offseason as a means of shedding salary and offering an opportunity to someone else, making this contract extension a divisive move amongst the fanbase. Since signing on as an Oiler at the start of the 2016-17 season, the 33-year-old native of Caroline, Alberta has been a bit of a lightning rod around here as the analytics-based fans note his lacklustre possession numbers while the ‘eyeballs’ side often praises him for his team-first mentality and willingness to sacrifice his body in the name of defence. So who’s right? Both are, to be honest. But in a salary cap world, arguments about a player’s worth are bound to happen, and I think many of the Russell detractors probably wouldn’t have minded the player nearly as much had he not been widely overpaid by the previous regime.
While the merits of this extension are certainly up for debate, it is interesting to see an agreement reached on an extension at this price point. Despite what you think of Russell as a player or the decision to extend his stay in Edmonton, it’s also important to note how his last contract featured a modified no-trade clause whereas this new extension does not, meaning that the Oilers will be able to expose him in the Seattle expansion draft without protection. And seeing as the team will also be without Oscar Klefbom for the foreseeable future while also needing to expose a certain number of NHL vets to expansion, perhaps this signing is Holland’s way of shielding a player that he values more while also retaining a veteran that can play now and contribute. Regardless of how today’s move shakes out with next year’s expansion draft or even the upcoming season, this is an extension that is bound to set the comments section ablaze by fans that both love and dislike Russell alike.
In 55 games played for Edmonton during the 2019-20 season, Kris Russell put up nine assists for nine total points to go along with an even +/- rating, a 43.2 CF%, and a 43.5 oZS% while averaging 16:47 TOI. In 273 total games played with the Oilers, Russell has amassed eight goals and 51 assists for 59 points to go along with a +3 rating, 72 PIMs, 722 blocked shots, and 19:30 in average TOI.
RUSSELL’S NHL CAREER SO FAR
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|2008-09||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||66||2||19||21||28||-10||4||1||1||2||2|
|2009-10||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||70||7||15||22||32||3|
|2010-11||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||73||5||18||23||37||-9|
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