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Shades of Barclay Goodrow With Mitchell Russell? NHL Scout Can See It



Credit: North Bay Battalion

“Russell has just turned into this classic Stan Butler kind of player who can be trusted in any situation.”

That’s what McKeen’s Hockey director of scouting and long-time OHL observer Brock Otten wrote about forward Mitchell Russell, the newest San Jose Sharks prospect, in February.

You know who was also a classic Stan Butler type of player? Butler, by the way, was the legendary head coach and general manager of the North Bay Battalion from 1998 to 2019.

The San Jose Sharks signed over-ager Barclay Goodrow out of North Bay in Mar. 2014.

Now I’m not saying that over-ager Russell will be Goodrow. But I spoke with a scout from another NHL organization who can see it.

“Little smaller than Goodrow, but yeah. Small but thick, bit of an all-around contributor,” the scout said of the 6-foot-0 Russell, who’s short two inches on Goodrow.

“Jack of all trades, master of none type. Would be curious to see if he has any element that actually will translate well?” the scout added about Russell. “He doesn’t really have a truly defining element. San Jose Sharks might see him as a potential bottom- line energy guy.”

That doesn’t sound exciting, but of course, there’s bottom-six forwards, and there’s good bottom-six forwards. Certainly Goodrow, career-high 13 goals in a season, belongs in the latter category.

Now it might be odd to already cap Russell, who scored 41 goals and 47 assists this season, as a bottom-six forward in the NHL. But as we saw with Goodrow, who notched 33 goals and 34 assists in his final season with the Battalion, just because you’re a scorer in juniors, doesn’t mean that’ll translate to the NHL.

“A lot of times a goal scorer in junior who has a good motor ends up leaning on that as a pro as it gets more difficult to capitalize,” the scout said. “Those guys find a way.”

(Check out JD’s Twitter for more Mitchell Russell highlights)

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