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Another Battalion star inks with Sharks

‘Our entire organization is so proud of Mitchell in reaching this achievement‘
Mitchell Russell gets over the blue line against Windsor
Mitchell Russell gets over the blue line against Windsor. Photo by Tom Martineau/BayToday

I don't know if a anyone has noticed but it appears the Sharks continue to circle around the North Bay Battalion organization. 

San Jose Sharks Interim General Manager Joe Will announced Thursday that the club has agreed to terms with Battalion forward Mitchell Russell to a standard, entry-level contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Mitchell is a character player and leader on the ice with good production that helps his team win," said Will in a Sharks release.

"He has a strong pedigree as a skater who was selected in the first round of the OHL Draft."

Russell, 21, leads the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in playoff goals and ranks second with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) through nine games for the North Bay Battalion. 

He also ranks in the top five this postseason in assists (tied-fourth), power-play goals (four, tied-second), power-play points (seven, tied-second) and game-winning goals (four, second). He has recorded at least two points in all nine of his playoff games to date, and his nine-game postseason point streak is the longest active streak in the OHL. The Battalion are set to face the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Eastern Conference Final with Game One tomorrow in Hamilton.

The irony is in 2014 when the Battalion made the conference finals, they were led by undrafted overage star Barclay Goodrow who was signed as a free agent that spring by the Sharks. 

Russell joins right winger Brandon Coe, a fourth-round choice in the 2020 NHL Draft, as a current Battalion member who has signed with San Jose.

“I just want to take the time to thank the North Bay Battalion organization for believing in me and giving me an awesome opportunity to play in front of the best fans in the league,” said Russell, a right shot who has played all three forward positions this season, much of it on a line with Coe.

“With that being said, I’m grateful to sign my first NHL contract and want to thank everyone who has pushed me into becoming the person I am today.”

Russell is very familiar with the Goodrow connection and his path to the NHL. 

"I think that is someone who I model my game after, he's a guy who was undrafted and had a good OA year and a good run with this team so," said Russell about Goodrow parallels. 

General manager Adam Dennis was thrilled with the good news from San Jose. 

“Our entire organization is so proud of Mitchell in reaching this achievement," said Dennis in a release. 

"He has worked so hard to earn this opportunity and has been a treat to be around for the last four years. Mitchell has been such a valued member of our team and community and will no doubt make a positive impact with the Sharks organization alongside Brandon.”

The Battalion acquired Russell in a Dec. 28, 2018, trade with the Owen Sound Attack, which made him a first-round choice in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection from the Barrie Jr. Colts minor midgets.

In 239 OHL games over four seasons, Russell scored 78 goals and earned 83 assists for 161 points with 93 penalty minutes. In 147 Battalion games, he had 70 goals and 73 assists for 143 points, tied with Luch Aquino for 21st place in franchise history. He was 10th in OHL points production this season, scoring a team-leading 41 goals and adding 47 assists for 88 points in 64 games