Born in Roubaix, France, Roussel began his childhood athletic career playing rugby. But when he was let go by his hometown club team for repeatedly leaving the field to escape the heat during summer practices, his mother enrolled him in a hockey league. Roussel has been playing hockey like a rugby player ever since.
A gritty wing who worked his way onto Chicoutimi in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League after his family moved to Canada when he was 16, Roussel has had a solid career since entering the NHL as an undrafted free agent. After finishing his fourth and final season with Chicoutimi, he played most of 2010-11 for Providence of the American Hockey League.