In 2011, the Chicago Blackhawks did the impossible: They found a taker for defenseman Brian Campbell and the remaining five years on his contract, with an elephantine $7,142,875 cap hit and no-trade clause.
That taker was GM Dale Tallon on the Florida Panthers, who of course was the guy who signed him to that deal while GM of the Blackhawks. “I explained the blueprint and similar to what we did in Chicago and he was able to convince his fiance and family that this was the right move for him and I think it is,” said Tallon.
Welp, three seasons later, the Panthers have one playoff appearance and an 82-98-32 record while Campbell’s been there. Despite the fact that there’s a group of good young players in the system and Roberto Luongo is between the pipes, Campbell’s reportedly done following this blueprint.
According to Andy Strickland, Brian Campbell wants out of Florida.
Campbell’s 35 years old and thus has lost a little bit on his wheels. But that’s OK, because that means he’s gone from “blazing fast” to “fast.” He had 37 points in 82 games last season and his two years removed from a 53-point campaign. His possession stats are outstanding – throughout his time in Florida, the Panthers were a remarkably better team in controlling play with him on the ice.
Of course, there are two factors here that stand in the way of Campbell parting ways with Florida: Two years and a $7.1 million cap hit. There’s no way the Panthers are trading Campbell without picking up a portion of his salary, which might be another challenge for a team that's trying to do it on the cheap. (To the point where that's affecting their talks with Dan Bylsma for head coach.) But finding a team that wants to pick up that cap hit, and for whom Campbell wants to play, is going to be a neat trick.
(One perfect fit: The Anaheim Ducks. They have the cap space, the need for another puck-moving defenseman and the window's wide open to try and win a Cup.)
For the record, Miami Herald beat writer George Richards knows Campbell has been unhappy but isn’t sure if it manifested as a desire to leave.
But will we see Brian Campbell moved at the NHL Draft again?