Detroit Red Wings Sign Defenseman Robbie Russo

95th pick overall Robbie Russo by the New York Islanders poses for a portrait during day two of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 25, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota.
(June 24, 2011 – Source: Nick Laham/Getty Images North America)

The Red Wings announced on Twitter Sunday morning the team has signed NCAA standout Robbie Russo on a two-year entry level contract.

Russo decided back in May that he would not be signing with the New York Islanders, the team that had selected him 95th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft.

Although drafted in the 4th round, Russo was a great defenseman for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He led defenseman on the team in scoring in 2012-2013 and improved his skating tremendously.

Russo did have red flags on him after he was declared academically ineligible during the 2013-2014 season. He played 21 games and had 15 points.

This past season was Russo’s best season to date. He potted 15 goals and 26 assists in 40 games. He became a key piece for the Irish, proving that he could handle almost everything.

The Red Wings managed to pick up Russo after many had thought the Rangers would be signing the Westmont, Illinois native; however, it was reported the Rangers were not interested.

Russo will most likely be joining Red Wing camp and will try to fight for a spot on the NHL roster. I don’t see him making the big club the first time out, but I do expect him to be called up at some point during the season.

Russo will need to develop in Grand Rapids before making the jump to the NHL.

As Stephen Whyno points out, the Wings have a history of signing defensive prospects to ELCs.

Russo has played for the USNDT but is not eligible for the US World Junior team.