The Edmonton Oilers are bringing back a pending free agent, signing Patrick Russell to a one-year contract for 2019-20. Russell was scheduled to become a Group VI unrestricted free agent this summer after failing to play in 80 NHL games through his first three professional seasons.
Russell, 26, was signed out of St. Cloud State back in 2016 after impressing through his two seasons there. The Danish forward has then kept working hard to develop his game in the minor leagues, reaching a new career high in points with 40 this season for the Bakersfield Condors. That was enough to earn him a taste of NHL action, which unfortunately ended with zero points through six games. Still, his work ethic and development has been noticed by the team enough for them to extend him a new contract, one that may come with some more NHL playing time.
The Oilers are starved for consistent offensive production at the wing, and though Russell hasn’t yet produced at the highest level he does come with a scoring pedigree. The fact that he turned in a +30 season for the Condors also won’t be overlooked, though part of that is simply playing on a much improved squad. If he can carve himself out a role on the NHL squad at training camp perhaps he can prove that he is more than just a minor league scoring threat.