Twin brother of Columbus Blue Jackets prospect and Medicine Hat Tigers defenseman Kris Russell, Ryan Russell joined his kin as a draftee when the New York Rangers selected him 211th overall at the 2005 NHL Draft.
2006-07: In his final season with Kootenay (WHL), Russell tallied 30 goals, a career-high 46 assists and 76 total points (second on team/16th in WHL) in 58 games; his 40 penalty minutes was another career high for the center. He also racked up nine points (3g+6a) in seven playoff games.
2007-08: The center spent the season between the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL) and the Cincinnati Cyclones. He potted a pair of goals and three points with the Bulldogs, while scoring six goals and 10 points with the Cyclones. He excelled in the playoffs with Cinci, netting three goals and seven points in 15 games, all while helping his club win the ECHL Kelly Cup title.
2008-09: Russell spent the season with Hamilton (AHL), netting 20 goals and 39 points in 79 games, which are easily his best single season numbers since entering professional hockey.
2009-10: The Alberta native would spend his entire season with Hamilton, appearing in 74 games. He would contribute 19 goals and 18 assists to a deep Bulldog roster.
2010-11: Russell skated in 65 games for AHL Hamilton in his fourth pro season, missing time in February due to injury. Russell scored 10 goals with 11 assists and 48 PMs and his +17 plus/minus was the Bulldogs' fourth best. Hamilton reached the AHL semifinals and Russell's seven goals in the playoffs tied him with Aaron Palushaj for second-most. He also had 2 assists and was +8 in 20 games.. Russell was tended a qualifying offer by Montreal in June 2011 and was acquired by the Blue Jackets in July 2011 (his twin brother Kris is a defenseman for Columbus).
Russell, much like his brother in Medicine Hat, provides an excellent offensive game on the ice. With strong vision and passing, Russell is also an excellent skater and isn’t afraid to shoot the puck, which he does with great accuracy. Russell’s only knock, though, is also one he shares with his brother. Being undersized at 5’9, 165lbs, Ryan is by no means considered a sure offensive threat, even at the next level of play, where physical play intensifies even more than that at the WHL level.
Should Russell be able to, at the very least, improve his overall strength, both upper body and lower, he’ll greatly increase his chances of finding success at another level.