Ken Holland has been busy. The day after Detroit’s very successful draft, the team has made moves to free up some space on their blue line. First, they cut ties with Xavier Ouellet. Second, and this was just announced, they traded Robbie Russo to the Arizona Coyotes for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) June 25, 2018
Russo was drafted 95th overall in the 2011 entry draft by the New York Islanders. He signed a two-year entry level deal with the Red Wings in 2015 and has spent most of his time since then playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL.
Russo suited up for the Red Wings in 19 games in the 2016-17 season, recording zero points and a plus-2 rating. He never got the call back up as he was jumped on the depth chart by little Joe Hicketts. With Hicketts seeming NHL-ready and Filip Hronek not far behind, there wasn’t much of a chance that Russo would ever make a full-time impact in Detroit.
The Griffins are losing their second highest scoring defenseman from 2017-18. Russo had nine goals and 23 assists for a total of 32 points. That was seven less than Hronek, who led all defensemen in points for the team.
Moving Russo clears space for players like Vili Saarijarvi, who spent more time than he deserved in the press box. Getting him regular big minutes in the AHL will be important for his development this coming season. The Griffins will also need room for Libor Sulak, who may end up in Grand Rapids if he doesn’t crack the Red Wings roster.
This move doesn’t immediately affect the Red Wings roster, but it’s an important depth move that ensures young players will get the proper amount of ice time for their development. There’s no word on what the conditions of the seventh-rounder are yet. Stay tuned to WingsNation.com for further updates.