Late last night, the Arizona Coyotes announced that they have signed Robbie Russo to a one-year two-way contract. Russo was scheduled to become a Group VI unrestricted free agent this summer after failing to amass 80 NHL games through the first several years of his professional career. The team did not provide the financial details of the contract.
Russo, 26, was originally a fourth-round selection by the New York Islanders in 2011 but ended up signing with the Detroit Red Wings after four years at Notre Dame. He immediately made an impact at the minor league level, recording 39 points in 71 games as a rookie for the Grand Rapids Griffins, and being a key part of their Calder Cup championship the following year. He made his NHL debut in 2016-17 as well, suiting up 19 times for the Red Wings. Unfortunately that offensive flair was limited to the AHL, as Russo failed to record a single point during his stint with Detroit.
In Arizona, Russo’s success in the minor leagues didn’t end. He recorded another 39-point season in 2018-19 for the Tucson Roadrunners, and is likely ticketed back to the AHL this year. While he provides some depth for the NHL club, there is little reason to believe he can develop into a full-time player for the Coyotes in short order.