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Chicago Blackhawks Trade Rumors: Calgary’s Kris Russell

By Sean Fitzgerald
Jan 13, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defenseman Kris Russell (4) skates against the Florida Panthers during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 13, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defenseman Kris Russell (4) skates against the Florida Panthers during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks have made a move at the trade deadline every year since Stan Bowman took over as general manager for Dale Tallon.This season is not expected to be any different. With Dustin Byfuglien resigning in Winnipeg, puck-moving defensemen are going to be a little more difficult to find at the deadline. I have already shared my thoughts on Keith Yandle, a puck-moving defenseman option for the Chicago Blackhawks.

That brings us to the Calgary Flames. The Flames are 11 points out of the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference and have two significant restricted free agents whose contracts are up after this season. Their two young stars, John Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, are up for raises next season, which means the Flames need to make decisions about other free agents. The Flames also appear to be set on defense with Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton signed long-term. One player that could be out is Kris Russell. Russell is an unrestricted free agent after this season and is also due a raise. He is currently a $2.6 million cap hit.

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Russell would be a great fit for the Blackhawks. He is a left-handed shot, has great speed, blocks shots and can play on the powerplay. Russell could pair with Trevor van Riemsdyk on the bottom pairing and play the right side. Now, like every player, Russell is not without his flaws. Russell is prone to mental lapses, he lacks size at 5-foot-10, 173 pounds and lacks consistency in the offensive zone.

Russell probably would cost the Blackhawks a second-round pick in 2017 and both their fourth-round picks or two prospects. The Flames organization lacks depth on the right wing, per Hockey Futures. The Blackhawks lack depth on the right wing as well, although Marko Dano is about NHL ready.

The Blackhawks might have to trade a center prospect who can play the wing, perhaps Luke Johnson.

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Rumor has it the Blackhawks have been scouting the Flames and Hurricanes. The Flames probably will not trade Russell unless they are overwhelmed by a deal. Rumor has it the Flames love Russell and will meet his contract demands in the offseason. The Flames are more likely to trade Jiri Hudler and/or David Jones. Hudler and Jones might actually be the better fits for the Blackhawks.

Hudler had great offensive instincts and pinpoint accuracy and  can also play both wing positions. Hudler could fill the left wing spot with Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews. Hudler does come with his warts, also, as he is not adept defensively. Jones is a versatile but streaky veteran winger. He is a right winger, so he might not be an ideal fit. Hudler and Jones would cost a prospect or lower-round draft picks.

Until the trade deadline passes, expect the Blackhawks to be rumored in on any potential trade acquisition.

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