PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Kris Russell
’s tenure with the Calgary Flames is over.
And the days of Russell -- the subject of rampant rumours about his departure -- waiting to find out his final destination is over.
“That was the hardest part the last few days,” said the defenceman, now a member of the Dallas Stars. “Your name is getting thrown around so much with different teams. You didn’t know where you were going to end up if you were to be traded. To have a team like the Dallas Stars showing this much faith in me and coming out and trading for me, it’s really exciting. I’m really excited to be a part of that organization.”
Russell was dealt to Dallas in exchange for defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka, forward prospect Brett Pollock and a conditional second round pick. The conditional pick becomes a first rounder if the Stars advance to the Western Conference Final, and Russell plays at least half of their playoff games.
In 91 career NHL games, all with Dallas, Jokipakka has two goals and 16 points. Pollock, 19, has 25 goals and 67 points in 63 games for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League. Pollock was selected in the second round (No. 45) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
“I wanted to stay a Calgary Flame but when you hear you’re going to a team that has a good chance to win a Cup and has a lot of talent on that team, it’s pretty exciting,” Russell said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s tough to leave but it’s the next chapter and I’m excited to be a Star.”
Russell set an NHL record with 283 blocked shots in 2014-15. He is second in the NHL with 174 blocked shots, despite missing nine games this season.
In 198 career games with Calgary, Russell had 15 goals, 63 assists and 78 points.
“Nobody laid it on the line the way that Kris Russell did for us,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. “That was a hard one. They’re all hard. He’s a special guy and Dallas is getting a real warrior. We want to thank him for everything that he did for us. I had a long talk with Kris today. Everyone that watched him knew he lived and breathed the Calgary Flames and that he bled Flames red. We wish him nothing but the best and thank him for everything he did for us in Calgary.”
Russell’s time in Calgary meant a lot to him, too.
“It’s been incredible,” Russell said. “I grew up as a Flames fan so putting on that jersey meant a lot to me. Right from the owners to the management to the coaching staff to the players to the trainers I’ve been treated world class. It’s sad to leave an organization like that but I’m happy I got the opportunity to play for them.”
Russell was originally acquired by the Flames from the St. Louis Blues on July 5, 2013 in exchange for Calgary’s fifth round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
The trade came after clearing waivers.
A shot with the Flames jumpstarted Russell.
“It’s no secret that I went on waivers and then I was eventually traded to Calgary and this is where my career really picked up steam,” he said. “It was a huge credit to them for giving me an opportunity to earn some minutes, especially the way last year went, I felt this was going to be a great year for us and the Flames. Things didn’t seem to go that way. Come trade deadline if you’re not one of the teams there, there are going to be some decisions made.
“I don’t regret any of the time I spent here in Calgary. I’ve been treated like nothing but gold and to play in front of family and friends was a dream come true.”