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Notre Dame's Robbie Russo to Become NHL Free Agent

Matt Dewkett

Arthur Staple, who covers the New York Islanders for Newsday is reporting that the New York Islanders will not sign Notre Dame senior defenseman Robbie Russo, meaning he will become a free agent on August 15th.

Russo was drafted by the Islanders in the 4th round of the 2011 NHL Draft out of the US National Development Program. Russo put up decent statistics in his first two seasons at Notre Dame, and his third year was cut in half due to some academic issues. But returned to the Notre Dame line-up as a senior and put together a very impressive season.

His 15 goals and 26 assists for 41 points put him one point behind Minnesota's Mike Reilly--also likely be a highly-coveted free agent this summer--for the national lead in scoring among defensemen, and his 15 goals tied for the national lead in goals scored by a defenseman. Russo also earned the honor of being team captain midway through last season.

Russo will likely be at the top of the list of potential free agent targets for many teams when drafted NCAA players have their NHL rights expire on August 15th. Russo was ranked 55th on our list of the Top 100 NHL Prospects in the NCAA last season:

Russo came back to Notre Dame after missing the second half of last season due to academic problems and has been a leader for a young Irish team all season, recently earning the right to wear the captain's 'C'. Russo is a solid all-around player, though he likely lacks the size to be a big defensive presence at the pro level. He's added a more offensive dimension to his game this season, however, as one of the top-scoring defensemen in all of college hockey.