The Stars made a move to boost their defensive back-line.
Just before the trade deadline yesterday, the Dallas Stars acquired defenseman Kris Russell from the Calgary Flames. The Flames received Jyrki Jokipakka and 2014 second-round pick Brett Pollock. The Flames also get a 2016 second-round pick that can turn into a first-round pick if the Stars reach the second round of the playoffs.
The 28-year-old Russell is in his 10th NHL season. His 5’10” 175 pound frame suggest his game lacks the physicality, but he makes up for it by other means. His 174 block shots ranks second in the league. Calgary plays their defensive in a similar aggressive style making it easy for Russell to adopt to the Stars defensive strategy.
General Manager Jim Nill talked on The Ticket about what he likes about Russell.
“Well, first of all, he’s got experience. He’s a veteran, experienced player, he can play high minutes. I believe last year in the playoffs he was playing 27 to 29 minutes in the playoff games, which is high, high minutes. And he plays hard, he’s a little bit of a ball of hate, he’s a great shot blocker. He’ll be a good penalty killer and he really gives us some live experienced guys as we head into the playoffs, which you need as you go ahead.”
Jyrki Jokipakka will be a good player in the league. The 24-year-old has a great defensive mind with an excellent defensive stick. Standing at 6’3” gives him a long reach to separate the puck from the offensive player. Brett Pollock is a relatively unknown commodity. He’s a 19-years-old forward currently playing in the WHL. Pollock averaged 61 points over the last three seasons.
Russell’s addition gives the Stars veteran defenseman depth. His shot blocking will help the goal against average that ranks 23rd in the league. Not to mention relieves some pressure from the goaltenders who have had their struggles recently.
The objective for Jim Nill and the front office is to win now. In order to do that, they have to keep up with the Blackhawks. The Russell trade counter’s the Blackhawks move for Andrew Ladd.