FILE - In this Nov. 24

Flames trade Kris Russell to Dallas

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames have traded defenceman Kris Russell to the Dallas Stars. The Flames get defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka, forward Brett Pollock and a conditional 2016 second-round draft pick in the deal. The 28-year-old Russell, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, has four goals and 11 assists in 51 games this season.

CALGARY — The Calgary Flames have traded defenceman Kris Russell to the Dallas Stars.

The Flames get defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka, forward Brett Pollock and a conditional 2016 second-round draft pick in the deal.

The 28-year-old Russell, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, has four goals and 11 assists in 51 games this season.

“Kris is ultra-competitive and a solid two-way defenceman,” said Stars general manager Jim Nill. “He will bring a steadying presence to our blue-line and we feel he will help us improve in several areas.”

The agreement reached about an hour before the trade deadline Monday is an effort by the Stars to improve a defence that has been spotty as Dallas lost its grip on the Western Conference lead the past two months.

Russell has been a prolific shot-blocker the past three seasons for the Flames, with 174 in 51 games this season after a career-high 283 in 2014-15.

He joined the Flames with little fanfare in July 2013 in a deal with St. Louis. Playing in his home province, the Caroline native saw his career blossom under coach Bob Hartley.

Russell immediately became a top-four defender and in his two-plus seasons with the Flames, he averaged over 23 minutes in ice time.

He shone in last year’s playoff chase, stepping up after captain Mark Giordano suffered a season-ending injury in February. Instead of fading away as most expected, Russell and partner Dennis Wideman were given more responsibility and their strong play helped Calgary edge the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings for the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division. They went on to upset the Vancouver Canucks in the first round before being eliminated by the Anaheim Ducks.

In the second year of a two-year, US$5.2-million deal, Russell had become unaffordable for the Flames, who are not in playoff contention this season.

On defence, the Flames have over $17 million committed long-term to the trio of players viewed as the big three in captain Mark Giordano and emerging stars T.J. Brodie and Dougie Hamilton. Meanwhile, with one more season on their existing deals and owed over $11 million in 2016-17 are blue-liners Dennis Wideman, Ladislav Smid and Deryk Engelland.

Russell joins a Dallas Stars team that is one point back of Chicago for the lead in the Central Division.

Jyrki Jokipakka, 24, who is in his sophomore season with the Stars. The 6-3, 215-pounder has two goals and four assists in 40 games this season.

Pollock, the Stars second-round pick in 2014. Pollock, is in his fourth season with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings.

The conditional second-round pick becomes a first-round selection if the Stars reach the Western Conference final and Russell plays 50 per cent of the games in the first two rounds.

The trade comes 48 hours after general manager Brad Treliving shipped Jiri Hudler, another veteran on an expiring contract, to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a second-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-rounder in 2018.

Just Posted

Hospitalizations jump in Red Deer due to opioid poisonings

Small city hospitals impacted more by opioid crisis

Central Alberta councils learn more about Bighorn Country proposal

A collection of central Alberta politicians are learning more about the province’s… Continue reading

High-speed chase led to fatal collision, jury hears

A Delburne man accused of manslaughter caused a fatal rollover collision during… Continue reading

‘Part of the solution:’ Alberta seeks proposals to build new refinery

EDMONTON — Alberta is looking for someone to build a new oil… Continue reading

Online ads spoil Christmas surprises, raising privacy concerns: experts

Lisa Clyburn knew she had found the perfect gift for her nine-year-old… Continue reading

Sebastian Giovinco, Jonathan Osorio and Adriana Leon up for top CONCACAF awards

Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco and Jonathan Osorio are up for CONCACAF male… Continue reading

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

TORONTO — Canada Soccer has named striker Jordyn Huitema and defender Derek… Continue reading

Review: Too much Spider-Man? Not in the Spider-Verse

You might be forgiven for feeling superhero overload this holiday season. Had… Continue reading

‘Modern Family’s’ Sarah Hyland had second kidney transplant

LOS ANGELES — “Modern Family” star Sarah Hyland says she had a… Continue reading

Orlando SC acquires Canadian Tesho Akindele in trade with FC Dallas for cash

ORLANDO, Fla. — Canadian forward Tesho Akindele was traded to Orlando City… Continue reading

Koskinen notches third shutout, McDavid gets winner as Oilers blank Flames 1-0

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers appear to have shored up their defence… Continue reading

Most Read