I am hearing everyone who is a Leaf fan from here to China, yelling 'no' to Russell. I completely understand with his salary demands; there is no way he is a $5 million player.
Chris is not a unique defencemen. He does not stand out in any way. His one specialty is blocking shots. At times, he will block everything in sight. He is pretty steady in his end. But he is not a five mil number one defencemen.
Kriss will give you heart and defensive reliability in the defensive zone. He is an effective communicator and will be a leader in the dressing room. He leads by example and will do what it takes to win.
The main problem with Russell is his offensive skill. For this reason, I think the Leafs should stay away from him. They need more of a complete player. The Leafs need a little more offense from their defensemen.
So watch the Leafs go ahead and sign him. What do I know anyway?