The San Jose Sharks have added another prospect, signing Mitchell Russell to a three-year, entry-level contract. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Sharks general manager Joe Will released a short statement on the free agent forward:
Mitchell is a character player and leader on the ice with good production that helps his team win. He has a strong pedigree as a skater who was selected in the first round of the OHL Draft.
Russell, 21, played his overage season with the OHL’s North Bay Battalion this year, and scored 41 goals and 88 points in 64 games. More impressive has been his playoff run, where he’s been basically unstoppable with 11 goals and 22 points in nine games, as the Battalion walked through Ottawa and Kingston without issue.
The interesting part about signing players like this is that Russell can move directly into the AHL next season and make an impact on the organization. Undrafted, his strong play is enough to land an entry-level contract, as the Sharks obviously saw something they like.
It will be a challenge for Russell to bring that production over to the professional ranks, but he’ll certainly have a coach that knows what it means to make an impact without big offensive totals. John McCarthy, named San Jose Barracuda head coach this week, was a seventh-round pick that had to find different ways to contribute in order to maintain his long playing career.