Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell may not be long for this team — or the NHL — after a tough 2016-17
In order to understand defenseman Brian Campbell‘s future in the NHL, we need to visit his return first. When the Chicago Blackhawks announced that the 37-year-old Campbell was coming back prior to this season, all of the Blackhawks faithful rejoiced. The Chicago Tribune wrote the signing was just what the Blackhawks needed.
After this past season, it might be a one and done with the Blackhawks.
Sports Writers posted articles stating that the Blackhawks defense went from a weakness to a strength in 2016-17. The Blackhawks went from having no depth on defense, to having all kinds of defensive depth with Campbell and newcomer Michal Kempny added.
Campbell came “home” because this where his life outside of hockey started. He met his wife here in 2011. His daughter’s favorite team is the Blackhawks, and he maintained his offseason home here.
I was at the Blackhawks Convention panel that featured Niklas Hjalmarsson, Duncan Keith, Campbell and Trevor van Riemsdyk. Nobody was more excited to start playing again with Campbell than Keith. Keith gushed having the ability to pass the puck in his skates. The excitement for the defense was palpable in the room.
Projections and failure to meet them
While being cautious over being burned in the past by old ’Hawks coming back, everyone was very optimistic about Campbell’s return. After the honeymoon was over, we got down to business of projecting what Campbell would produce for the Blackhawks. Campbell was projected at 5 goals, 24 assists and 29 points in 2016-17.
With all the hype surrounding his return, he was projected out to finish along with his career numbers. Instead, he was a complete disaster. Campbell would fall short of his career numbers.
He recorded 5 goals and 12 assists for 17 points in 80 games. Since becoming a regular NHL player, Campbell had only recorded fewer than 19 points once in an NHL season. It was in 53 games with the Sabres in 2003-04, when he recorded 11 points.
More from Analysis
- Blackhawks: Grading Connor Murphy and a position comparison
- Blackhawks: Shuffling the lines to try and spark offense at 5 on 5
- These Lineup Changes could Solve the Blackhawks’ Scoring Problem
- Chicago Blackhawks Winning- Temper Those Expectations
- Three Takeaways from the Blackhawks’ Win vs Vancouver
Campbell also had not missed a game since the 2011-12 season. That streak came to an end due a healthy scratch. He had played so poorly that coach Joel Quenneville benched him, thus ending his streak.
I am not even sure if Campbell was ever considered the part of big four this past season. He was worse than little-used Michal Kempny at times.
What does the future hold ?
Campbell came back on a one-year deal at $1.5 million, turning down bigger money from other teams to come home. He stated at the convention last year that he was going to only play with the Blackhawks, and said so again after this season ended.
Well, the decision this time might be out of his hands. Based on his play, I would tell the Blackhawks to move on from Campbell for several reasons.
I would say goodbye to Campbell and wish him well. Campbell proved “You Can’t Go Home Again.”