2016 NHL Free Agency: Landing Brian Campbell Is A Long Shot, But Worth A Shot
The 37-year-old veteran defenceman would be a welcomed addition to Detroit's young blue-line, but for how long? And would he want to?
Height / Weight: 5'10", 192 lbs.
Born: May 23, 1979 (37 years old)
Birthplace: Strathroy, ON
Who Is He?:
Brian Campbell is veteran defenceman who has 17 years of NHL experience under his belt. Campbell is a journeyman, playing in 1,002 regular-season games with several NHL teams, most notably with 2010 Stanley Cup Winning Chicago Blackhawks. After being traded from the Blackhawks to the Florida Panthers, Brian became the first defenceman to win the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy since Red Kelly did so with the Red Wings in 1953-54. Quite simply, Brian Campbell is a player who has been there and done that, all while maintaining a reliable presence on the back-end.
Campbell had an impressive 2015-16 campaign with the Atlantic Division leading, Florida Panthers. He led the Panthers in plus/minus (+31), was ranked ninth in points (31), and tied for sixth in assists (25). Even as he approaches age 40, Brian Campbell is still an exemplary puck-moving defenceman that would be a welcomed addition to any NHL team.
Why Detroit Would Be Interested:
It's no secret that the Detroit Red Wings are still feeling the effect of Nicklas Lidstrom's retirement. With fellow Swedish-born defenceman Niklas Kronwall beginning to show his age and battling a lingering knee injury, the Red Wings would love to add another veteran presence on their blue-line as the team continues to bring younger defenceman into the mix.
Ken Holland has openly stated that he is interested in trading for a top-pair defenceman, but he is also aware that the price for such a player will not come easily or cheaply. Making an offer to a defender like Campbell could help the Red Wings in avoiding the loss of a roster player and/or prospect, but it also may not come a reasonable price, and that is if Brian Campbell would ever consider coming to a team like the Red Wings.
Should Detroit Sign Him?:
At this point, Ken Holland and company should at least pick up the phone and make a call to Brian Campbell's agent. It has already been reported that Campbell has shown interest in making a return to Chicago and the Blackhawks, and at this point in his career, it's hard to blame him. If he does indeed decide to return to Chicago (where he resides with his family in the off-season) it would obviously have to come at a discount price considering Chicago's current salary cap situation.
If Campbell would be willing to take a cut in pay to play for a Stanley Cup contending team like the Blackhawks, it's hard to imagine that at age 37, he would want to play for a re-building team like the Red Wings. But money does talk, and people do like challenges, so there is always a chance. Like I said, Brain Campbell is at least worth a phone call.