Kris Russell traveled with the Calgary Flames to Philadelphia for Monday’s game versus the Flyers despite the swirl of trade rumours around him, and the Flames brass spoke highly of the defenceman on radio and television Monday morning.
“We love Kris Russell. He’s a classic Flame, a classic Alberta kid. His dad was a bullfighter, for God’s sake,” Calgary president Brian Burke told Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
“We have made a significant offer to keep him, but his agent and Rusty feel that you don’t get many chances to test the market. He thinks term-wise and money-wise he can do better, and we understand that. But that means it’s probably time to part ways. We owed Rusty a good-faith effort to sign him, but now moving forward, to fit him in with our defense and the players whose contracts are up would have to make financial sense. I don’t think we’ll be able to reach an agreement like that, so he’s likely on the move.”
Stars general manager Jim Nill would like to upgrade his blue line prior to Monday's deadline. Russell and Vancouver's Dan Hamhuis are the most highly rated stay-at-home D-men available on the rental market.
The Dallas Stars are considered to be a Stanley Cup contender this season but the club has been carried by their offence. The Stars surrender 2.84 goals per game, ranking their defence 23rd overall.
Sportsnet's Roger Millions reports that Nill has "significant interest" in Russell, who is available for trade. Andy Strickland reports that the Stars and Boston Bruins are trying to land him.
An unrestricted free agent on July 1, Russell is asking for $1.5 million more per season on a contract extension than the Flames are willing to pay, according to Sportsnet's Eric Francis.
“We think the world of Kris. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s a warrior. He competes so hard. He’s a great teammate," Flames GM Brad Treliving told Hockey Central Monday morning.
"He’s the kind of guy you win with.”
Russell has 15 points in 51 games and is a minus-4 player for Calgary this season. He ranked No. 9 on Sportsnet's list of available players heading into the deadline.