Kris Russell will help Stars' defensive weaknesses

Stars trade for two-way defenseman Kris Russell (1:44)

Scott Burnside and Joe McDonald discuss the Stars' acquisition of blueliner Kris Russell in exchange for Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Pollock and a conditional second-round pick. (1:44)

One of the key defensive dominoes remaining on the trade market fell to the Dallas Stars, as they obtained Kris Russell from the Calgary Flames for big, young defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka.

The Stars also sent prospect Brett Pollock and a 2016 conditional second-round pick to the Flames for the smallish but effective Russell (5-foot-10, 180 pounds).

The Stars are in a heated battle with the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the Central Division. And while they remain one of the most dynamic offensive squads in the NHL -- second in the league in goals scored per game and fifth with the man advantage -- the prevailing feeling is that the Stars still lack the defensive depth (23rd in goals allowed per game) to be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

Russell will definitely address some of those concerns and will likely slide into a top-four role with the Stars.

Russell has developed a reputation as a solid shot-blocker who can also jump into the play. His 174 blocked shots this season rank second in the NHL.

Russell is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and could not come to an extension agreement with the Flames, who have taken a step back this season after last year's emotional run to the second round of the playoffs.

For its part, Calgary added size and youth with the 24-year-old, 6-3 Jokipakka, who played 40 games for the Stars this season.