Oilers Looking at Signing Kris Russell in January | Oilersnetwork.com - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

Oilers Looking at Signing Kris Russell in January

The Edmonton Oilers have been in the news over the holiday season. Some of it has to do with how well the team has done under some lesser expectations to start the season. Most of it comes as a result of word leaking that the Oilers are interested in offering an extension to Kris Russell upon his eligibility to resign January 1st.

The Arguments For

Kris Russell has been a strong defender for the Edmonton Oilers. While injured, Edmonton played some of its worst hockey and he was clearly missed. He's playing the second-most minutes on the Oilers' blue line and he's leading the team in blocked shots; while being fifth in the NHL among defensemen in that category. He provides the Oilers will an experienced NHL option on defense. These are all good things.

The Arguments Against

By extending Russell, the Oilers would need to make a future trade if they don't believe the core of Andrej Sekera, Kris Russell, Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson are enough to contend when the games really count. There is a legit argument to be made that this top-four is good, but not good enough and that it lacks a true top-tier defender.

The other problem is what adding another contracted defensemen does to the Oilers' future plans come the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. Russell under contract changes the perspective on whom the Oilers should protect and the best ways to go about doing so. Signing Russell is virtual writing on the wall for a future loss that could mean a lot more to the Oilers future.

My Take

Sign Russell if you want. Just wait. There is so little suggesting that now is a good time to do so and that past history of extending players early hasn't gone well for the Oilers that it makes more sense to give Russell a full season to prove his worth. It also makes more sense to have everything planned to the letter in preparation for the expansion draft.

The Oilers look good on paper, but at this moment in time aren't even a playoff team. If you commit to this top four on your blue line and it turns out it wasn't quite enough to get you to the promise land this season, then you're stuck for next season and other seasons where you potentially have an asset you signed too early and now can't move.

If you have faith in Oilers-GM Peter Chiarelli, then you have to hope he knows something we don't or has another plan up his sleeve. If not, this move seems illogical at best.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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