March 6, 2017
By Dan Colleran
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Former Notre Dame defenseman Robbie Russo (’15) is set to make his National Hockey League debut for Detroit on Tuesday night when the Red Wings play at Toronto.
Russo will become the ninth former Notre Dame player to play in the NHL this season, joining Ian Cole (Pittsburgh), Erik Condra (Tampa Bay), Vince Hinostroza (Chicago), Stephen Johns (Dallas), Anders Lee (New York Islanders), Kyle Palmieri (New Jersey), Bryan Rust (Pittsburgh) and Riley Sheahan (Detroit).
Russo will also become Jeff Jackson's 15th former player at Notre Dame to go on to play in the NHL. All told, Russo will be the 29th player in program history to reach the NHL.
Russo earned First Team Hockey East All-Star and Second Team All-America (East) honors following the 2014-15 season. In 40 games as a senior, he scored 15 goals and added 26 assists for 41 points, ranking second on the team in all three categories. His 15 goals tied for the national lead among defensemen and his 41 points ranked second nationally among blue liners.
Russo became the fifth Irish defenseman to earn All-America honors, joining Bill Nyrop (1973), Jack Brownschidle (19776 and 1977), Benoit Cotnoir (1999) and Cole (2009). He was awarded a captain's "C" during second semester of his senior season. On Jan. 18, 2015 at UConn, he notched the only hat trick in the nation by a defenseman in 2014-15 when he scored three times in a 6-1 Irish victory over the Huskies. It marked the first hat trick by a Notre Dame defenseman since Feb. 20, 1988, when Frank O'Brien scored three times against Lake Forest.
In 142 career games with Notre Dame, Russo scored 28 goals and added 66 assists for 94 points. He was a leader on the Notre Dame power play and finished his career with 14 power-play goals. He also added three shorthanded goals and five game winners.
Russo was a fourth round selection (95th overall) by the New York Islanders in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to the 2015-16 season, he signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Detroit organization.
Last season in his first as a professional, he skated in 71 games for Detroit’s AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins and totaled 39 points on five goals and 34 assists. He was named to the 2016 AHL All-Rookie Team and was named a Second All-Star Team.
This season, Russo skated in the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic, and he has totaled 31 points (7-24-31) in 56 games with the Griffins.
In 127 games with the Griffins over the past two seasons, Russo has picked up 70 points (12-58-70), a plus-54 rating and has 75 penalty minutes.
-- ND --
Dan Colleran, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men’s hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College (’06 & ’08G).