According to Ansar Khan of MLive, the Detroit Red Wings are close to coming to an agreement with defenseman Robbie Russo. The restricted free agent was eligible for salary arbitration but decided not to file, usually a sign that the two sides have already had productive conversations during the year. He’s coming off his entry-level contract, but will likely sign a two-way deal with the Red Wings.
Russo, 24, made his NHL debut last season and spent 19 games with the Red Wings down the stretch. Drafted by the New York Islanders in 2011, he became a free agent in 2015 after four years at the University of Notre Dame and signed with the Red Wings immediately. After finding plenty of offensive success in the AHL in his first season and up to his call-up in March, he amazingly was held pointless in the NHL. That’s despite playing over 16 minutes a game with the Red Wings and generally being a positive possession player.
The Red Wings have a pretty full blueline after signing Trevor Daley and Luke Witkowski this summer—though the team has said the latter may play forward at times—and it’s unclear exactly where Russo fits in. Though both Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson have dealt with injuries they’re expected to be ready for the start of the season, while according to Khan it’s not as clear for Ryan Sproul who is working through a knee injury. Either way, Russo will have to win a job in training camp to be included on the roster come the start of the season.