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Morning Skate: Nobody wants to sign Kris Russell and that's good news

A collectively smart decision.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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Lace 'em up. Time for the Morning Skate.

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It’s amazing, isn’t it? Free agency opened up on Friday at noon and essentially seemed to end a few hours later. So many big targets got swept up within the hour:

Every top target is off the market. Except for Kris Russell.

Rumors swirled the first few days that teams were in bidding wars for the former Flames and Stars defenseman. None of those came to fruition. Even when it seemed the Leafs were about to open their wallets for him, he remained available.

We make fun of teams every summer for signing bad players to huge contracts. Look, here’s an example. But the fact nobody is tripping over themselves to sign a defenseman lauded solely for shot blocking while railed against for his terrible possession metrics is a pretty good sign for those of you who wish front offices would get smarter about that kind of stuff. A light in the darkness.

Of course, now that I’ve said that, I expect Russell to get a long-term deal within hours.


Vacation’s over. Time to get caught up on all the big news from free agency. If only there was a convenient place to find every single free agency signing. Wink.

Also, here’s our grades for every big signing last week. I almost decided to grade every small move too, but then realized I have a family who likes spending time with me. Who knew! Expect a full grades roundup by team later this week. Always hard to gauge when something else will come down, though. (Looking at you, Tyler Seguin trade on the Fourth of July three years ago.)


Some of our team blogs are quite pleased with what happened last week.

And others, well ...