Kris Russell to Stars: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 29, 2016

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 10:  Kris Russell #4 of the Calgary Flames skates with the puck during a NHL game against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on November 10, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images)
Ronald C. Modra/NHL/Getty Images

The Calgary Flames traded defenseman Kris Russell to the Dallas Stars on Monday only hours before the NHL trade deadline expired.  

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported the news, and's Pierre LeBrun confirmed the deal. 

Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet 960 indicated Calgary received defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, forward Brett Pollock and a second-round pick in the trade. Friedman reported the pick turns into a first-rounder if Dallas makes the conference finals.

Russell has four goals and 11 assists in 51 games this season but didn't appear in the Flames' past six contests due to a lower-body injury (h/t

The Stars are only one point behind the reigning Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, and the move to land Russell is a savvy means to fortify their blue-line rotation.

Although Dallas does boast a high-octane offense that ranks second in goals per game, its defense leaves something to be desired, ranking 23rd in goals allowed and 24th in the league with a 79.3 penalty kill percentage.

Chicago has struggled to kill penalties to an extent in 2015-16, but it has the benefit of experience and a seasoned, superior line of defense on its side. Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times wondered whether the Stars sacrificed too much in Monday's trade as a means of upgrading a critical area of the roster:

But there's reason to believe Russell will be worth the short-term flier.

Sportsnet Stats highlighted how Russell is willing to lay his body on the line in the name of preventing the opposition from scoring:

Russell will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, per Spotrac, so the Flames got quite a haul in return for a player on an expiring deal. The 28-year-old ought to help the Stars in their clear areas of weakness and should be able to establish himself in the lineup soon enough.

A change of scenery and playing for a legitimate Stanley Cup contender may revitalize Russell, who did come at a rather steep price as Dallas does its best to best the Blackhawks in the West.

If the move doesn't work out and Russell winds up playing elsewhere next season, perhaps the Stars may regret sacrificing multiple assets for him. The win-now mentality is commendable, though, as the club tries to disrupt Chicago's borderline dynasty.