RE 17-18 KRIS RUSSELL: LONG ROAD TO RUIN

When Kris Russell was on the ice at 5×5 during 2016-17, the Edmonton Oilers scored 41 goals and allowed 32. That’s a solid total and one of the reasons the club signed Russell to a long-term deal. He checks off a lot of boxes: A veteran who can play either side, can defend, and is mobile enough to make the tough speed plays in the eyes of coach and management. Are there any negatives? (Long Road to Ruin)

KRIS RUSSELL 2016-17

  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.60 (7th among regular defensemen)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 3.23 (one point in 18 minutes)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 46.4
  • Corsi Rel 5×5 %: -5.8
  • DFF Elite 5×5 %: 47.8
  • DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %: -1.1 (35 percent of TOI v. elites)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 68 shots/1.5%
  • Boxcars: 68, 1-12-13
  • (All numbers via Puck IQStats.HockeyAnalysis.com and hockey-reference)

RE 17-18: 64GP, 1-9-10 (.156)

  1. There are two vocal sides when it comes to Kris Russell. I think it’s a fascinating discussion. It’s no fun to watch someone misrepresent your views, but it is cool to gather a conclusion from the available information.
  2. I know we’ve been over this before, but can you do it again? Sure. What would you like to get incensed over today?
  3. Tell me where Russell lands on the defensive spectrum based on the numbers you value. His possession number (Corsi for 5×5 percentage) is poor. However, his Woodmoney totals against elites are more encouraging, while suggesting he would be more effective with fewer minutes against the NHL’s best players.
  4. You sound like you’re being deliberately careful so as not to offend. I’m being deliberately careful so as not to overstate. Remember we’re dealing with WoodMoney as a new resource, we don’t have 10 seasons to draw upon.
  5. The WoodMoney metric is more encouraging? It’s giving us an additional angle, or providing sunlight. We don’t know what we don’t know, but the WM appears to put Russell in a more convincing light. Or at least, that is my read.
  6. Why is there a gap between Corsi and WM?  It could be something as small (but impactful) as having McDavid on the ice with him during the elite minutes (WM’s are against elites as above). Russell’s DFF numbers are not out of line with the other members of the top 4D, but we don’t have a season’s worth of results without Russell.
  7. How can we suss this out? We can ask questions. Perhaps he’s a Denver boot for Sekera against elites but that information is still to come via Puck IQ. We do know that Sekera is 55.9 DFF (all three disciplines) without Russell, and Russell is 46.70 without Sekera. So that’s a gap. (Source)
  8. And maybe it is also a gap against elites? Or would be if we gathered enough sample from two seasons. Russell played 420 minutes against elites, perhaps less than 100 without Sekera. We might need more than one season.
  9. Complicated! My overall point is that this is coming into view. We know it is coming and we parse what we have, but even with that, there are indicator lights we have to track down. Patience is going to be required.
  10. Can’t we just say Russell would be better served playing less against elites? We’re already saying that.
  11. What is the problem in his game? Same as Fayne’s funnily enough. Russell is a defense first option, doesn’t move the puck so much as get it out of harm’s way. Edmonton’s rush is not always under control when Russell handles the puck. Andrej Sekera is the headman passer on the pairing. So, when Russell gets the puck out, chances are it’s going to come back pretty damned quick on another sortie.
  12. Maybe we should measure sorties defended against elites? That’s exactly what Puck IQ is doing. Russell allowed 61.40 Corsi events against per 60 this past season against elites. Adam Larsson’s number in the same metric is 59.40. That’s not the big part of the difference. Larsson’s Corsi events for were 47.10, Russell’s 43.40. He can defend, but he defends more often than Larsson-Klefbom because the puck isn’t spending enough time heading north. We’ll need to do elite wowy’s and factor in/out McDavid, but that’s a train of thought that appears true. (Source)
  13. So he’s hurting Sekera’s numbers? That is a guess on my part but the numbers we do have lead us to that conclusion at this time.
  14. So, 61.40 Corsi against elites per 60 via Puck IQ is the line in the sand for good defending? I don’t think that’s a good way of putting it, no. We don’t know where the line in the sand is, and we have to factor in Corsi for as well. Brent Burns allowed 61.90 CA versus elites last season, but his Corsi for was 65.0. So, lots of chaos there but a mountain more offense as well.
  15. I keep hearing about good shot metrics. Russell led the Oilers in 5×5 shots-against 60 (27.44) with a solid number. That ranked him No. 40 league wide for 2016-17.
  16. Is that good? Yes. I prefer Corsi. Woodmoney is my new favorite. Shots against/60 have value but Russell’s number was over 30 a year ago so how much importance are you going to give it?
  17. What metric are the Oilers using? Don’t know, but the Dangerous Fenwick is more heartening than straight Corsi so the Oilers may be paying attention to something like DFF.
  18. You guessed his contract would be $4 million times two. You suck! Yes, I did guess that, but the NMC comes off after two years and I expect Russell may well get dealt somewhere near the halfway point of the contract.
  19. Do you like Russell? I like defenders and like veterans, so have time for Russell. All of the numbers we have discussed come with Russell playing on his off side. I can’t get anyone to agree anymore on the percentage improvement we might see if Russell plays LH side, but all agree it will benefit him.
  20. So the anti-Russell folks are about usage? I think when people look at results it’s easy to forget that side of the equation. I don’t think people are anti-Russell, but have evaluated possession as being important. I find there are too many people who are no longer open to the idea that these numbers have value. It’s interesting to me, as to be honest with you I think the numbers continue to give valuable evidence.
  21. How so? When teams evaluate players and sign them, it gives us an idea about their thinking. I believe there is value in it, not in a ‘the sky is falling’ way but rather a ‘this signing holds some risk and we should monitor things’ kind of way. I don’t believe signing Kris Russell to a four-year deal or trading Taylor Hall cuts the Oilers off from winning a Stanley Cup, as a for instance. I do think it’s an indicator about the path and risks chosen.
  22. Would you be shocked if Russell posted another strong season in terms of SA/60? He did seem to have a fantastic run this past season and luck was probably a part of it. So yes, if he comes in at 27.5/SA per 60 at 5×5 I’ll be surprised.
  23. Will you be surprised if his numbers cave this season? Cave is a strong word, but regression does occur and I think it’s reasonable to suggest Russell played in some good luck this past season.
  24. Why this song? I do like the idea that things are complicated and that success is not assured. Great song. On the other hand, I don’t see him as being the ruination of the team. I like having veterans around, it keeps the kids from chaos. Kris Russell is an Edmonton Oilers defenseman and the team needs him to perform well. The first portion of the season, without Andrej Sekera, is going to he a helluva challenge.

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67 Responses to "RE 17-18 KRIS RUSSELL: LONG ROAD TO RUIN"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    I think the PPG might go up a little but that predicted here if he plays the majority of the time on the left side.

    I think the games played might even be a little high – chronic groin problems usually don’t get better when a pro hockey player reaches 30.

    I like this player – he can defend – he’s got character – he is good in the dressing room.

    I do NOT like the term of his contract and I certainty don’t like the trade protection (seriously Chia, you couldn’t negotiate even a NTC over a NMC?).

    I know I’ve said this ad nausea, however, if he’s going to play top 4 ES minutes, and we know he will to start the year, I truly hope he’s on the left side as he’s historically been a more efficient puck mover from that left side.

    I hope he can at least bring the game he did last season – I fear regression from that game this year.

    I’m rooting for you Kris – prove me wrong and be even better than last year.

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    What was Talbot’s save percentage with Russell on the ice? Off the ice?

    I wonder if there is a significant difference and, if so, how much of that can be attributed to the player.

  3. stush18 says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Klefbom-Russell
    Nurse-Larsson
    Paigan-benning
    Auvitu-Gryba

    It’s going to happen. Haha

  4. OriginalPouzar says:

    stush18:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Klefbom-Russell
    Nurse-Larsson
    Paigan-benning
    Auvitu-Gryba

    It’s going to happen. Haha

    We know it won’t happen to start the season as McLellan has been express that he would like to keep Klefbom/Larsson together – they will start the year together and will only be broken up if either (or both) of the other pairings aren’t at least treading water.

  5. Brantford Boy says:

    All I can say about Russell is the +70 GF/GA over one season was a result of the team, Russell was part of that team. His blocked shots (NHL leader) and other abilities (Russell Reset) has value and other teams identified this and I believe drove up the price on the contract (or MSM and Agent)… most importantly IMO is teaching the younger D-men coming up what it takes to win. Without Hendo’s busted jock hanging in the locker room as a reminder (I’ll wait while we all wince in pain), seeing a vet put it all out there, in front of hard slap shots every night, well… seeing is believing, and understanding what it takes to win.

  6. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar: We know it won’t happen to start the season as McLellan has been express that he would like to keep Klefbom/Larsson together – they will start the year together and will only be broken up if either (or both) of the other pairings aren’t at least treading water.

    That COULD be clear by the end of TC. 🙂

  7. godot10 says:

    The Russell contract is going to be four years of misery. Chiarelli’s WORST move to date.

  8. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar:

    I know I’ve said this ad nausea, however, if he’s going to play top 4 ES minutes, and we know he will to start the year, I truly hope he’s on the left side as he’s historically been a more efficient puck mover from that left side.

    I’ve seen this said. Do you happen to have a link to the article/data supporting it? I’m not doubting it, just wondering how the conclusion was arrived at.

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    jp: I’ve seen this said. Do you happen to have a link to the article/data supporting it? I’m not doubting it, just wondering how the conclusion was arrived at.

    No, sorry, I can’t remember where I read it but it was laid out – it was likely on this site or by one of the more statistically advanced posters on this site.

  10. blainer says:

    I thought Russell looked quite good in the playoffs and like Drai i think Chia took that into consideration for his contract.

    I am actually fine with Russell and am happy he is back. Like most I am fine with the first two years.. it’s those last two years I am not happy with.

    Russell pushes the youngins like nurse down a bit and will allow them more time to learn on the job without too much pressure.

    When Sekera returns and if the D does stay healthy and IF Nurse can take a bid leap forward ice time will end up being defense by committee.

  11. LadiesloveSmid says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    What was Talbot’s save percentage with Russell on the ice?Off the ice?

    I wonder if there is a significant difference and, if so, how much of that can be attributed to the player.

    Pretty high when he was on the ice, which is why his GF% numbers are skewed. I believe his on-ice SV% fluctuated from being above or below the team average almost every year, I don’t know what to do anymore to check anything with no hockey analysis however

  12. Georges says:

    So mild, LT. I got nothing.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Georges:
    So mild, LT. I got nothing.

    Oh take your time. Surely something was outrageous! 🙂

  14. stush18 says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Right.

    I just don’t think the other two pairings are going to survive very long without splitting up the swedes

  15. OriginalPouzar says:

    stush18:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Right.

    I just don’t think the other two pairings are going to survive very long without splitting up the swedes

    Of course and they very well might not and a change might be required. That change could be to break up the Swedes or perhaps a lineup sheet change (i.e. move a Gryba to the press box and insert a Stanton or a Simpson or an Auvitu).

    Who knows?

    I’m looking forward to watching and finding out in a season that starts 44 days from now.

  16. Ryan says:

    godot10:
    The Russell contract is going to be four years of misery.Chiarelli’s WORST move to date.

    Debatable.

    I would say that the Reinhart trade and Russell contract are Chiarelli’s worst moves to date.

  17. Georges says:

    Lowetide: Oh take your time. Surely something was outrageous!

    Right amount of appreciation for results, right amount of concern for how those results were achieved, and hope mixed with anxiety for the future. I think (and I think you think) Russell is an above average defenseman. I don’t know if he’ll be that for 4 years though. So… roller coaster.

  18. theDjdj says:

    The Russell contract is the hidden cost of Sekera’s injury. It is true that the team (and, I suspect, the coach especially) values what Russell brings. But as soon as the team announced the length of Sekera’s injury Russell’s agent had Chiarelli against the wall.

    Sure, we can debate the merits of letting Russell walk and replacing him on the FA market or trade with players with more impressive numbers. However, there’s something that the team values and we don’t talk enough about.

    Context.

    The team knows what they have with Russell. And for a young team hoping to return to the playoffs a conservative approach has worth.

  19. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – Great post LT! Russel is a fine top-4 D. Here are a bunch of actual D results that frame it for 2017:

    1) His TOI/GM was 71st : this means the coaches trust him a lot
    2) His shifts per game at over 27 was 51st: see above
    3) He blocked the most shots at 213: 2nd was Karlsson at 201: No one calls Karlsson a shot blocker!
    4) He’s really good at taking away the puck from the other team: 26th in league
    5) His PDO was actually lower than Sek, Larsson and Benning. Some use PDO as a proxy for “luck”, yet it’s only mentioned in the context of Russel whose shooting plus save % is lower than those 3

    – Anyway: he’s small, he doesn’t score a lot, he doesn’t hit much, he doesn’t have blazing speed, so he’s not all that. But he gets the job done, is good at some things, and as a guy who can play a lot of positions: I’m ok with him.

    – As ideally a Benning or Nurse can over take him, he’s still good to have

  20. Ryan says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux:
    – Great post LT!Russel is a fine top-4 D.Here are a bunch of actual D results that frame it for 2017:

    1)His TOI/GM was 71st : this means the coaches trust him a lot
    2)His shifts per game at over 27 was 51st: see above
    3)He blocked the most shots at 213: 2nd was Karlsson at 201:No one calls Karlsson a shot blocker!
    4) He’s really good at taking away the puck from the other team: 26th in league
    5) His PDO was actually lower than Sek, Larsson and Benning.Some use PDO as a proxy for “luck”, yet it’s only mentioned in the context of Russel whose shooting plus save % is lower than those 3

    – Anyway: he’s small, he doesn’t score a lot, he doesn’t hit much, he doesn’t have blazing speed, so he’s not all that.But he gets the job done, is good at some things, and as a guy who can play a lot of positions: I’m ok with him.

    – As ideally a Benning or Nurse can over take him, he’s still good to have

    I actually think that Russell contract will play out sort of like the Chris Kelly contract minus the cup.

    You always worry more when guys don’t learn from their mistakes.

  21. leadfarmer says:

    Oil fans last year. “Omg Chia is worthless. Why Russell. He is so terrible”

    Does ok last year.

    Now “Omg he’s so terrible. It’s all downhill”

    Like I said last year. If you are using Corsi to evaluate Russell you are doing it wrong. And he is such a statistical outlier that I don’t think any current advanced stat does an accurate measurement. He here for 3 years and after his million dollar signing bonus he’s goes somewhere for 1.5 mil

  22. Ryan says:

    leadfarmer:
    Oil fans last year.“Omg Chia is worthless.Why Russell.He is so terrible”

    Does ok last year.

    Now “Omg he’s so terrible.It’s all downhill”

    Like I said last year.If you are using Corsi to evaluate Russell you are doing it wrong.And he is such a statistical outlier that I don’t think any current advanced stat does an accurate measurement.He here for 3 years and after his million dollar signing bonus he’s goes somewhere for 1.5 mil

    My initial concern with the Russell contract was that the cap space blocks any improvement in the top four d not only this up coming season but at least the following season as well. It also blocks any potential alignment of the lefty righty thing for the top four.

    It also nearly guarantees a Nuge trade down the line and has implications with the second contracts of Benning and Nurse. A ripple effect if you will.

    If a team who’s not on his no-trade list is willing to eat his cap hit for you in the fourth year of his contract, don’t expect that they’ll do it for free.

    Last item, top four d play a lot of minutes and Russell and McDavid on the ice at the same time is unfortunate.

  23. godot10 says:

    Ryan: Debatable.

    I would say that the Reinhart trade and Russell contract are Chiarelli’s worst moves to date.

    One can fix the Reinhart “mistake”…i.e. Benning. The Russell mistake, effectively a 4-year no move contract, is an unfixable mistake.

  24. OriginalPouzar says:

    leadfarmer:

    The narrative on Russell is not “OMG he’s terrible” – well, except for people like Henderson.

    The issue is the contract was signed as the exact opposite of a value contract – the very very best case scenario is that he may live up to the contract and there is essentially no chance that he outplays it.

    That is simply not that type of contract you give to a 30 year old non-core player when the future cap situation is known to be very very tight. In particular when there are already 2 every day NHL d-men, in their early 20s, looking to pass the player on the depth chart.

    Any trade protection in that contract was nothing short of unacceptable – the GM lost on salary, term and trade protection.

    Yes, Chia was under the gun with the Sekera injury and a weak UFA market for d-men but he panicked.

    Are we a better team this year b/c we have Russell? Very likely. Is it a contract that could hurt as soon as next year? Very likely.

  25. Georges says:

    godot10: One can fix the Reinhart “mistake”…i.e. Benning. The Russell mistake, effectively a 4-year no move contract, is an unfixable mistake.

    What if Russell delivers full value of the contract? What’s the expectation for a $4M defenseman? Who’s another veteran comp with a similar cap hit?

  26. Georges says:

    OriginalPouzar: The narrative on Russell is not “OMG he’s terrible” – well, except for people like Henderson.

    The issue is the contract was signed as the exact opposite of a value contract – the very very best case scenario is that he may live up to the contract and there is essentially no chance that he outplays it.

    That is simply not that type of contract you give to a 30 year old non-core player when the future cap situation is known to be very very tight. In particular when there are already 2 every day NHL d-men, in their early 20s, looking to pass the player on the depth chart.

    Any trade protection in that contract was nothing short of unacceptable – the GM lost on salary, term and trade protection.

    Yes, Chia was under the gun with the Sekera injury and a weak UFA market for d-men but he panicked.

    Are we a better team this year b/c we have Russell?Very likely. Is it a contract that could hurt as soon as next year?Very likely.

    Weren’t you just saying losing RNH makes our other centers’ lives harder? But let’s give Benning and Nurse a fast pass to top 4 minutes? What happened to cover?

    Also, what’s living up to the contract and what’s outplaying it?

    Finally… very likely that the contract could hurt as soon as next year? You’re sure you’re not “OMG, he’s terrible.”?

  27. OriginalPouzar says:

    Georges: What if Russell delivers full value of the contract? What’s the expectation for a $4M defenseman? Who’s another veteran comp with a similar cap hit?

    Hamonic

    Klefbom

    Larsson

    Demers

    Michalek

    Methot

    Greene

    Stralman

    Braun

    Martinez

  28. Georges says:

    OriginalPouzar: Hamonic

    Klefbom

    Larsson

    Demers

    Michalek

    Methot

    Greene

    Stralman

    Braun

    Martinez

    What do all these guys produce? What’s the benchmark?

  29. OriginalPouzar says:

    Georges: Weren’t you just saying losing RNH makes our other centers’ lives harder? But let’s give Benning and Nurse a fast pass to top 4 minutes? What happened to cover?

    Also, what’s living up to the contract and what’s outplaying it?

    Finally… very likely that the contract could hurt as soon as next year? You’re sure you’re not “OMG, he’s terrible.”

    I never said give Benning and Nurse a fast pass to top 4 minutes.

    In fact, in this very thread I expressed a willingness to sign Russell (and even over pay him) for a year or two. I also expressed that he likely makes the team better this year.

    I also expressed a disdain about signing a non-core player that will likely regress during the term of the contract for 4 years with trade ficken protection.

    I stated there are two d-men that are looking to pass Russell on the depth chart that “may” occur as soon as this year.

    I expressed a concern about our second pairing with the Sekera injury and understood why we needed to sign Russell but the 4 years and, in particular, the NMC were huge losses.

  30. godot10 says:

    Georges: What if Russell delivers full value of the contract? What’s the expectation for a $4M defenseman? Who’s another veteran comp with a similar cap hit?

    Russell fails both the eye test and the statistics test already. Take away Sekera and the McDavid boost to Russell’s possession metrics and Russell is already a marginal 3rd pairing D.

    No doubt, Russell is a great character guy. But a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

  31. OriginalPouzar says:

    Finally… very likely that the contract could hurt as soon as next year? You’re sure you’re not “OMG, he’s terrible.”?

    When I say “next year”, I mean the 18/19 season and, yes, the contract very well could hurt that year.

    Russell may be #6 on the depth chart at that point, making $4M with a NMC on a team that can’ afford to re-sign all of its legit RFA players.

    Yes, that contract could hurt very much in a year from right now.

  32. leadfarmer says:

    OriginalPouzar: Hamonic

    Klefbom

    Larsson

    Demers

    Michalek

    Methot

    Greene

    Stralman

    Braun

    Martinez

    Demers!!!
    Michalek!!
    Might as well put Fayne on that list

    Your list shows several players who signed while they are young and before they got good. Don’t find them as comparables for 30 yo UFA

  33. Georges says:

    godot10: Russell fails both the eye test and the statistics test already. Take away Sekera and the McDavid boost to Russell’s possession metrics and Russell is already a marginal 3rd pairing D.

    No doubt, Russell is a great character guy. But a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

    I think the only stats test he fails is CF%, yes? What other tests does he fail?

    The eye test is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve seen very bad versions of Oiler defending. Was Russell an out of position type? Unable to read the play type? Unable to make the play type?

    Why don’t we take away Russell’s skates while we’re at it? Remember that Sekera played in front of Talbot and behind CMD for half the season in 2015-16. Sekera’s no miracle worker. So let’s say it’s a partnership, with benefits for both partners.

    While establishing his marginal 3rd pairing D credentials for the past 3 seasons, he’s been playing close to 1st pair minutes. Quite the trick. No telling how far the two paths will diverge. He’ll be a solid 5th pairing D by the end of next season.

  34. OriginalPouzar says:

    The question was asking for veteran comps with similar cap hits and I think that is reflected in the list.

    Yup, you can add Fayne to the list – obviously he’s a comp that is worse than Russell.

    I’m not sure what more is wanted from me. I’ve expressed that I like the player on the team this year. I’ve also expressed disain for the length of the contract and the trade/movement protection and that it was an unacceptable contract for the GM to sign given the cap structure of the team.

  35. Georges says:

    OriginalPouzar: I never said give Benning and Nurse a fast pass to top 4 minutes.

    In fact, in this very thread I expressed a willingness to sign Russell (and even over pay him) for a year or two.I also expressed that he likely makes the team better this year.

    I also expressed a disdain about signing a non-core player that will likely regress during the term of the contract for 4 years with trade ficken protection.

    I stated there are two d-men that are looking to pass Russell on the depth chart that “may” occur as soon as this year.

    I expressed a concern about our second pairing with the Sekera injury and understood why we needed to sign Russell but the 4 years and, in particular, the NMC were huge losses.

    Well, the other party has to accept the contract you offer.

  36. Georges says:

    OriginalPouzar: When I say “next year”, I mean the 18/19 season and, yes, the contract very well could hurt that year.

    Russell may be #6 on the depth chart at that point, making $4M with a NMC on a team that can’ afford to re-sign all of its legit RFA players.

    Yes, that contract could hurt very much in a year from right now.

    Could also work out just fine. Depends whether you think Russell is a legit player. I think he is. I could be wrong and you could be right. But, in that case, we’re both likely to be unhappy.

    EDIT: BTW, I think it’s fair to be worried about Russell, especially physical deterioration. But he has to fall off a cliff (as in, it’s brutally obvious that it’s his fault the puck is ending up in our net) and soon for us to be badly hurt. I’m not of the view that he’s at the edge of that cliff or he’s already jumped. The coach likes him. The GM likes him. The team likes him. He has to play himself out of that spot.

  37. OriginalPouzar says:

    Georges: Well, the other party has to accept the contract you offer.

    and a GM has to be willing to walk away from a contract to a non-core aging UFA player if he isn’t willing to sign a deal that works for the team.

  38. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    godot10: Russell fails both the eye test and the statistics test already. Take away Sekera and the McDavid boost to Russell’s possession metrics and Russell is already a marginal 3rd pairing D.

    No doubt, Russell is a great character guy. But a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

    – I can’t find the site anymore, but in fact the most important statistical test: actually preventing goals, Russell has been pretty elite for 1 3 year samples…

  39. OriginalPouzar says:

    Georges: Could also work out just fine. Depends whether you think Russell is a legit player. I think he is. I could be wrong and you could be right. But, in that case, we’re both likely to be unhappy,

    I think he is a legit player as well – he has his weakness but he also has his strengths.

    As I’ve said, we will be a better team this year for having him on it. I can’t say the same will be true for the last 3 years of his contract and I don’t imagine he won’t be passed by both Nurse and Benning during the term of the contract (and very reasonably within the next season – at least by one of them).

    It just simply isn’t the type of contract I think the Oilers should have committed to given their cap structure and their depth chart.

    At the same time, I understand fully the hole that was there for this year – it was giant. I think there were shorter term options out there – maybe they wouldn’t be as good as Russell this year but I want to be a contender for years to come, not just this year.

    Methot comes to mind – he was obviously in play.

  40. Ryan says:

    godot10: One can fix the Reinhart “mistake”…i.e. Benning. The Russell mistake, effectively a 4-year no move contract, is an unfixable mistake.

    Agreed. The Russell contract was an egregious and unforced error. There will be negative consequences that cannot be prevented as a result of that contract.

    The Benning signing was an ancillary item that’s independent from the Reinhart trade though it does provide some amount of recompense.

  41. Georges says:

    OriginalPouzar: and a GM has to be willing to walk away from a contract to a non-core aging UFA player if he isn’t willing to sign a deal that works for the team.

    But he is core, isn’t he? We just don’t know about Nurse and Benning yet.

    Russell’s job is to provide a stable, positionally sound background on which CMD and the forwards and Talbot can go to work. That’s what was missing in CMD’s first year. Nurse and Benning aren’t ready to do that in a top 4 minutes role… at least I don’t think they are. One or both will audition this season with Sekera out. And they’ll likely audition with Russell.

    So we’re still going to have a hard time ejecting Russell from the core.

  42. OriginalPouzar says:

    Is Russel the core? Absolutely not in my mind.

    Core players are the players you build your team around. We are not building our team around Kris Russell – he is the definition of a complimentary player. At tertiary player.

  43. Georges says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Is Russel the core? Absolutely not in my mind.

    Core players are the players you build your team around.We are not building our team around Kris Russell – he is the definition of a complimentary player. At tertiary player.

    Tertiary player, ouch!

    I think PIT just showed that all defensemen are tertiary players. Although they did pay Schultz…

  44. OriginalPouzar says:

    OK, fine, a secondary player but, in all likelihood a tertiary player prior to the end of his current contract.

  45. slopitch says:

    Oh man I’m still processing GMoneys post – I think it’s brilliant I just can’t agree with it (hockey-wise not mathematically) and you drop this on us?!? Anyways, lots of people seem to dislike Russell. I’ve seen the argument and I get it. Pronger + 2008-2015 changed me. I like having lots of D. Lots of D. 2017-18, no problem. That contract is gonna make life difficult though.

  46. Newton says:

    godot10,

    Before the epic game 5 collapse, Russell put a stretch of play in that was one for the ages, gutsy, tough and effective – killed penalties blocked shots, moved the puck. He inspires others with his compete and clearly has tremendous value in the locker room. He’s a 4 on this team (unless a Chara is snagged at the deadline) but an important one and a veteran player that has playoff experience. The first half of the season last year he was one of their best 2 defenders until he sputtered. Case of Chiarelli paying for a player he really likes. If he starts the season on his natural left side I look forward to revisiting this convo.

  47. Lowetide says:

    slopitch:
    Oh man I’m still processing GMoneys post – I think it’s brilliant I just can’t agree with it (hockey-wise not mathematically) and you drop this on us?!? Anyways, lots of people seem to dislike Russell. I’ve seen the argument and I get it. Pronger + 2008-2015 changed me. I like having lots of D. Lots of D. 2017-18, no problem. That contract is gonna make life difficult though.

    Agree on lots of D for sure. And veteran D, keep those kids on the third pairing until they’re overcooked.

  48. stush18 says:

    Lowetide: Agree on lots of D for sure. And veteran D, keep those kids on the third pairing until they’re overcooked.

    There will come a time when the coach starts running the younger guys out more often then the vets. Or he won’t. Either way, that’s when you know it’s time to move one from one of the two, the vet or the youngster

  49. haters says:

    It’s simple. I’ve always secretly disliked people who brought analytics into hockey. Therefore I only saw the good Russel did, turning a blind eye to the bad. Conversely analytics people were convinced he was a poor defensmen because their limited data said he was so they never saw the good he did.

    Human behavior. Bjork was right the whole time. What fools we are.

    Russel 2016/17 playoffs. 13gp 0g 4a +2
    Rnh 2016/17 playoffs 13gp 0g 4a -3

    It’s kinda like poker. You can bs your way thru a lot but eventually youre gonna be asked to show what you have .

    Kris Russel is a fine defender from Caroline Ab. He seems to play for more than just money. Until an improvement can be found I’m just fine with him back there. Cheers

  50. Side says:

    godot10: Russell fails both the eye test and the statistics test already. Take away Sekera and the McDavid boost to Russell’s possession metrics and Russell is already a marginal 3rd pairing D.

    No doubt, Russell is a great character guy. But a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

    I like how a stat provided by LT in the first sentence of the article has already weakened your argument:

    “When Kris Russell was on the ice at 5×5 during 2016-17, the Edmonton Oilers scored 41 goals and allowed 32.”

  51. OriginalPouzar says:

    Newton:
    godot10,

    Before the epic game 5 collapse, Russell put a stretch of play in that was one for the ages, gutsy, tough and effective – killed penalties blocked shots, moved the puck.He inspires others with his compete and clearly has tremendous value in the locker room. He’s a 4 on this team (unless a Chara is snagged at the deadline) but an important one and a veteran player that has playoff experience.The first half of the season last year he was one of their best 2 defenders until he sputtered.Case of Chiarelli paying for a player he really likes.If he starts the season on his natural left side I look forward to revisiting this convo.

    Sure, he’s a #4 this year on this team but i don’t think many are questioning his usefullness to the team this year but in years 2-4 of his big term trade protection contract were he’s likely to regress and there are young developing long term players getting ready to pass him on the depth chart.

    There is a difference between not liking a player and not liking his contract. Like the player in a certain role. Hate the contract for this team. That would be a fine contract for Vegas.

  52. OriginalPouzar says:

    Chachi: http://www.tsn.ca/all-canadian-teams-on-methot-s-no-trade-list-1.787097

    One example of various d-men that were available and wouldn’t have cost us 4X4 with trade protection and the opposite of a vlaue contract.

  53. OriginalPouzar says:

    Kris Russel is a fine defender from Caroline Ab. He seems to play for more than just money. Until an improvement can be found I’m just fine with him back there. Cheers

    Plays for more than just money? He held out until October last year trying to get the most money he could and he held the team hostage for 4 X 4 this year.

    I’m sorry – I agree with you re: character, playing for teammates, etc. but lets not kid ourselves, he got as much money as he possibly could.

  54. Lowetide says:

    OriginalPouzar: Plays for more than just money?He held out until October last year trying to get the most money he could and he held the team hostage for 4 X 4 this year.

    I’m sorry – I agree with you re: character, playing for teammates, etc. but lets not kid ourselves, he got as much money as he possibly could.

    I don’t think hostage means what you think it means.

  55. Lowetide says:

    OriginalPouzar: One example of various d-men that were available and wouldn’t have cost us 4X4 with trade protection and the opposite of a vlaue contract.

    Russell came at the cost of just money. For a team like Edmonton, without a strong prospect base and wishing to keep their picks, that is/was an added attraction.

  56. russ99 says:

    I’ll never understand why a primarily math-based fan group not only doesn’t accept HDSC% as a valid defensive metric nor why Fenwick is used for defenders – as shot blocks are real, and they make a difference, ask Cam Talbot.

  57. mustang says:

    We need to understand the Russell contract has nothing to do with Nuge and his probability of being
    traded. Russell is a 4M dman, not sure what people expect for 4M these days…D.Doughty??

    If Nuge starts to perform to his 6M then he might stay and someone else will be gone. It’s up to Nuge to start to perform it’s as simple as that.

  58. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide: Russell came at the cost of just money. For a team like Edmonton, without a strong prospect base and wishing to keep their picks, that is/was an added attraction.

    Yes, that would have been a big deal if the contract was for a reasonable term but, given the cap structure and the 4 year term and the d-men right on his heels on the depth chart – I don’t think it was a proper contract for this team.

  59. Chachi says:

    OriginalPouzar: One example of various d-men that were available and wouldn’t have cost us 4X4 with trade protection and the opposite of a vlaue contract.

    The article I posted indicates Methot was in fact not available to the Oilers.

  60. godot10 says:

    mustang:
    We need to understand the Russell contract has nothing to do with Nuge and his probability of being
    traded. Russell is a 4M dman, not sure what people expect for 4M these days…D.Doughty??

    How many 30-something 3rd pairing D get 4-year effectively no-move contracts? Especially this summer. Money is NOT the issue with the contract. I wouldn’t be whining if it were a one-year $6 million dollar contract, but it is a 4-year no move and is pretty much buyout proof (because it is front-loaded with a big signing bonus in year 4).

  61. OriginalPouzar says:

    Anyways, given we were unable to find an upgrade in the 2nd pairing and Sekera is out for half the season, its a very good thing that Russell is back as an Oiler. He will play material minutes at ES and, if he’s on the left side, I think he could provide $4M value this year.

    I just wish that contract wasn’t so long and didn’t have any trade protection let alone a NMC.

    Anyways, that’s a problem for next spring/summer – for the upcoming 17/18 season, good player for our roster and I look forward to the Russell/Benning pairing proving solid 2nd pairing minutes.

  62. leadfarmer says:

    godot10: How many 30-something 3rd pairing D get 4-year effectively no-move contracts? Especially this summer.Money is NOT the issue with the contract. I wouldn’t be whining if it were a one-year $6 million dollar contract, but it is a 4-year no move and is pretty much buyout proof (because it is front-loaded with a big signing bonus in year 4).

    LOL. 30 something. I think you mean 30. 3rd pairing. In your mind maybe. How many 3rd pairing dmen lead their team in even strength ice time. This is getting ridiculous. I realize people dont like the player but holy crap guys.

  63. magneto says:

    KRIS RUSSELL
    GF with 97 – 22 GA with 97 – 10 in 407 min
    GF without 97 – 19 GA without 97 – 25 in 785 min

    I wonder why his GF% is so high…

    Matt Benning without 97
    GF 28 GA 21 in 632 min

  64. Bag of Pucks says:

    One positive I’ll add on this player is that I’ll always be a fan of the Oilers having homegrown Alberta talent like Letestu and Russell on the roster.

    It’s important that the kids can watch the games, see players like this on their team and believe that their dreams of making the NHL are achievable.

    Now, if we could trade Russell for Parayko. Even better!

  65. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    The comment that said stats guys have blinders on, eye test guys hate stats, he is a good player because he had a better +/- than Nuge, oh he is from Alberta so must be playing for more than money is an entire string of non sequiturs.

  66. Newton says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Historically players have improved in year 2 with a new team (Sekera) I’m very interested to see how Looch and Rusty progress, if that year two familiarity is an effectiveness multiplier these anvil contracts may not be so anvil after all.

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