TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie appeared on TSN 1260 on Monday morning, and commented on Kris Russell as an option for Edmonton’s “hole on defense”. On the weekend, TSN 1260 host Dustin Nielson tweeted that the Oilers had reached out to Russell and that he expected the two sides to exchange numbers sometime this week.
McKenzie believes Russell would “probably” be a “decent fit” for the Oilers, especially if it’s on a short-term contract. He brought up the abundance of “third-pairing guys” the Oilers have, and wondered who would play with Andrej Sekera on the second pair.
McKenzie also suggested he could see why Russell would have interest in a short-term contract with Edmonton, with an opportunity to possibly play some top-four minutes before becoming a free agent next summer after team’s lose defensemen to Las Vegas in the expansion draft.
However, David Staples of the Edmonton Journal opined that he doesn’t see Russell as being better than any of the Oilers current top four of Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Sekera, or Brandon Davidson. While McKenzie labelled the latter as a “third-pairing” defender, Davidson did impress last season, working his way into the Oilers’ top four. Staples said he’s “not sure of Russell, but I’m sure those four can all play the game.”
McKenzie said Russell is still talking with as many as eight teams, including the Oilers’ provincial rivals the Calgary Flames. Russell spent three seasons in Calgary before being traded at last year’s trade deadline. McKenzie expects Russell to sign a one-year contract in the neighborhood of $4-5MM.
- Meanwhile, Ansar Khan tweeted a photo of Red Wings RFA defenseman Ryan Sproul skating with teammates at Joe Louis Arena. Khan noted that he expects Sproul to sign a one-year deal this week. Sproul is coming off his entry-level contract, where he went pointless in one NHL game and put up 93 points in 213 AHL games.
- Michael Russo, of the Minnesota Star Tribune, confirmed Elliotte Friedman’s speculation regarding UFA Tomas Fleischmann with Wild GM Chuck Fletcher. Fleischmann will be attending camp in Minnesota on a PTO. He has previously played for Wild coach Bruce Boudreau when the pair were in Washington.
- TSN’s Frank Seravalli was among those questioning Team USA’s new lines, asking if coach John Tortorella was “trolling the media” with the line of Justin Abdelkader, Derek Stepan, and Patrick Kane. The States face a must-win game versus northern rivals Canada tomorrow night.