The Dallas Stars needed some help on the blue line for the stretch run and into the playoffs so they went out and got it.
The Stars acquired defenseman Kris Russell from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, forward prospect Brett Pollock and a conditional second round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
The Stars gave up a lot for a player that could wind up being a rental player. Russell is in the last year of his contract that has a $2.6 million cap hit per season. The defenseman is expected to ask for a big raise and that was part of the reason that the Flames made him available. Dallas could trade his rights to another team in the offseason if they don’t think that they’ll be able to resign him at a fair price.
In 51 games this season, he has four goals, 11 assists, 15 points, is a minus four and has averaged 22:52 of ice time per game. Russell has two power play goals, 174 blocks, 19 takeaways and 34 giveaways. In 562 career games played, he has 38 goals, 133 assists, 173 points, is a minus seven and has averaged 19:06 of ice time per game. He has 59 power play points, two shorthanded points, 466 hits and 1143 blocked shots. Russell has 189 takeaways and 233 giveaways in his career.
Russell is known for his ability to block shots. The defenseman has been used on the power play and the penalty kill throughout the course of his career. He is a puck moving defenseman, but he does lack size. He also lacks consistency when playing in the offensive zone. He can log a lot of minutes and play in the top four defensive pairings. The Stars can use him on one of their power play units if they choose to. He needs to make good, quick decisions with the puck since he isn’t very big, which could pose some trouble for him with the bigger forwards.
In 40 games played this season, Jokipakka has two goals, four assists, six points, is a plus one and averaged 14:30 of ice time per game. He has 47 hits,43 blocks, 23 takeaways and 58 giveaways. In 91 career games, he has two goals, 14 assists, 16 points, is a minus one and averaged 15:38 of ice time per game. He has one game winning goal and 66 shots on goal to go with 89 hits. He hasn’t seen much ice time in Dallas this season.
Jokipakka has a big frame and can play a decent game in his own zone. He can move the puck, but will also turn it over at times. Jokipakka needs to learn to shoot the puck more or at least get more pucks to the net so his teammates can have a shot at a deflection in front. The defenseman also is very physical given his size, which he doesn’t use to his advantage.
In Dallas, he was only seeing third pairing minutes when he was in the lineup. He should see some more minutes with the Flames since Russel now plays for the Stars. Jokipakka never really got a chance to develop with the Stars, but should get a chance to do that with the Flames. The Flames will want to see what Jokipakka can do and how he can make an impact on their lineup.
Brett Pollock is currently playing for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL. In 64 games, he has 25 goals, 42 assists, 67 points, four power play goals and 68 penalty minutes. In his WHL career, Pollock has played 245 games, has 85 goals, 104 assists, 188 points, is a +52 and has 194 penalty minutes. Pollock signed a three year entry level contract worth $2.775 million.