Apr 9, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers defensemanBrian Campbell
(51) skates before a game against the Boston Bruins at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
2. Brian Campbell
This list isn’t about the best contracts for the ’Hawks; it’s about best free-agent signings for the ’Hawks. With that in mind, it’s impossible to leave Brian Campbell off this list.
Following the 2008-09 season, the ’Hawks had just taken their first stab at being competitive, and narrowly missed making the playoffs. The ’Hawks had a need for another top-4 defenseman, preferably a puck-mover, in order to improve.
So, they singed Campbell to an insane contract: eight years, $7.1 million AAV. Campbell filled the blue-line hole and got the job done for the young ’Hawks. He helped lead them to the 2009 Western Conference finals. The next year, he would be a big part of the 2010 Stanley Cup winning team.
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Often (unfairly) a lightning rod for criticism from ’Hawks fans due to his large contract, his value was made clear early in the 2010-11 season. He missed the first several games and the ’Hawks severely struggled to fill his spot in their D pairings.
Campbell’s initial signing with the ’Hawks was symbolic and meant the team was serious about being a contender for the first time in a long time. Campbell is a symbol of that movement and is a Cup winner for the Hawks. Regardless of the amount of money it cost, Campbell was one heck of a ’Hawk.
Next: Who's No. 1?
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