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Stars beef up blueline, acquire Russell from Calgary

Kris Russell

Calgary Flames defenseman Kris Russell skates to his teammates after scoring against the Nashville Predators during overtime period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. The Flames won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


The playoff-bound Dallas Stars have added an experienced defenseman, picking up Kris Russell from the Flames, per Sportsnet.

UPDATE: Per ESPN and the Dallas Morning-News, it’s believed d-man Jyrki Jokipakka, prospect Brett Pollock (a forward) and a conditional second-round pick are going to Calgary. If Dallas makes the Western Conference Final, that second rounder becomes a first.

“Kris is ultra-competitive and a solid two-way defensemen,” Stars GM Jim Nill said in a release. “He will bring a steadying presence to our blueline and we feel he will help us improve in several areas.”

Russell, 28, has 15 points through 51 games this year for the Flames, while averaging a healthy 22:52 TOI per night. He’s also coming off a very impressive ’14-15 postseason, in which he scored seven points in 11 games while averaging a whopping 26:45 TOI in the Flames’ series against Vancouver and Anaheim.

For a Dallas team returning to the postseason after a one-year hiatus, that experience will be invaluable.

Russell’s overall value, however, has been a topic of great debate lately. Some saw him as one of the top available defensemen on the market, thanks to his puck-moving ability and last year’s career-high 34 points during the regular season.

Others, meanwhile, looked at his less-than-stellar possession metrics and thought he might be an overvalued asset.

How it plays out remains to be seen.

Russell’s in the last of a two-year, $5.2 million deal with a $2.6M average annual cap hit. A pending UFA, it’s believed the he’ll be highly sought after in free agency, and reports suggest he could be gunning for a contract worth $5M annually on the open market.

UPDATE 2: More on the conditional pick, from ESPN...