Today the New York Riveters signed their third player in the restricted free agent period. Rebecca Russo joins Tatiana Rafter and Katie Fitzgerald as the third player to return from New York’s 2016-17 roster.
From the NWHL’s press release:
“Playing for the New York Riveters has been one heck of an experience, and I am looking forward to another fun and successful season with this great organization,” said Russo. “I am so incredibly blessed and honored to be able to continue to play the game I love most and re-sign for another season of hockey with the NWHL.”
Russo was an All-Star and took home honors as the Fastest Skater during the All-Star Skills Showdown in her rookie season. Impressive achievements for a player who went undrafted and joined the Riveters after standing out in a free agent camp during the 2016 offseason.
In addition to her peerless quickness Russo emerged as one of the best playmakers in the league. Her vision helped carry the Riveters offense through the first half of the year before the return of Amanda Kessel. Russo led the league in assists for a good portion of her rookie year.
The Boston University standout finished the season with three goals and nine primary assists in 18 games. Eight of those primary assists came at even strength. There was just no stopping Russo when the Riveters had numbers on the rush.
She was behind some of the prettiest goals of the 2016-17 season.
The undersized winger exceeded expectations from the word go. Russo’s speed and skill made her a key cog in the Riveters dramatic transformation into a contender last season. She made the team dangerous in transition and on the power play where she picked up four of her 16 points.
We still don’t know who the Riveters head coach or general manager are. But the Russo signing was something that this team needed to get done. With Kessel lost to centralization, the Riveters are going to need Russo to pull the strings on the power play and in the offensive zone next season.
Her rookie year showed us that she should be up to the task.