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Red Wings: Getting to Know Robbie Russo

The Red Wings agreed to a two-year entry level contract with former Notre Dame defenseman Robbie Russo Sunday.

After being drafted by the New York Islanders in the 2011 NHL Draft, the 22-year old could not agree on an entry level contract and was granted free agency.

Russo comes from the US National Team Development Program where he spent two seasons, scoring three goals and 26 points in 58 games. He has spent the last four seasons playing for the University of Notre Dame, playing his first season with current Wing Riley Sheahan.

Throughout his tenure he has mounted 28 goals and 94 points through 142 games, including a breakout season in 2014-15 scoring 15 goals and 41 points in 40 games for the Irish. Those 15 goals were tied for first in the nation among defensemen and his 41 points ranked second behind Mike Reilly, one of the more sought-after college free agents that found a home in Minnesota, where he played his college game.

“We are excited Robbie has earned the opportunity to join such a great organization. He certainly fits the type of player the Red Wings like to develop and he has showcased a deep understanding and awareness of the game over his last four seasons at Notre Dame.”
-Irish Head Coach Jeff Jackson

“Signing [with Detroit] would not have been possible without my time at Notre Dame. The coaching staff gave me a ton of opportunities and helped me grow as a player and person. I can’t thank my Irish teammates enough. They made my time there special and any success I had personally was because of my teammates. Notre Dame really helped me get to this point in my hockey career.”
-Robbie Russo, Newest Member of The Wings Organization

Russo was given the “C” in February of his senior season, a quality that is more than welcomed in his new organization. He also received the honor for the U-18 World Junior Championships in 2011.

He comes to an organization that has a jammed blueline at the NHL level, so Russo will likely start with the Grand Rapids Griffins. His right-handed shot from the point is a nice attribute, something the Wings have been longing for and have recently netted in this addition and free agent defenseman Mike Green.

In Grand Rapids, Detroit has many knocking on the door including Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, and Ryan Sproul. One of those will likely make the team, and Russo will likely slot in with a defense that also includes Nick Jensen, Brian Lashoff, and others.

All in all, it is a nice depth move by General Manager Ken Holland that could pay off for Detroit down the road as the 22-year old progresses in his development.

Main Photo:

Quotes courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics
Stats courtesy of hockey db


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