Gold has a way of taking away blemishes, and for U.S. NTDP defenseman and Notre Dame recruit Robbie Russo, he picked the best time to shine.
Team USA's captain and one of its three stars at the World Under-18 tourney in Germany back in April, Russo silenced the critics (B2011DW included) with an outstanding performance in leading his squad to USA Hockey's third-straight gold medal at the Under-18s.
Russo doesn't have ideal size, but is a very good skater with excellent vision, passing skills and a penchant for making the right play in the offensive zone.
The Illinois native could very well be a top-60 pick this weekend, but even if he falls out of the second-round, Russo is a no-brainer in the third. We don't think it will come to that, but if it does, he will be one heck of a nice value.
The Fighting Irish will be adding one more skilled player with a winning pedigree to a program that made it to the Frozen Four last spring (losing to eventual NCAA champion Minnesota-Duluth in a close contest). They were on the cusp of a championship, and Russo gives them a chance to re-load and make another run in 2012.