Brian Campbell of the Florida Panthers during the preseason....Image Source: Yahoo Sports

Florida Panthers Fans Should Be Excited About Brian Campbell

“He made the commitment to us to come to Florida, so that says a lot. That’s really important to us: [For] a player of his stature to add us to the list and make the decision to come to Florida means a heck of a lot to me and our organization.” – Dale Tallon

At Monday night’s game many players stood out to me, Jonathan Huberdeau of course had a great game statistically, but he also played very well setting up passes and being where the puck is, I like to see that. Then I noticed Scotty Upshall out there, playing his game, controlling the energy, getting pucks on net, that was great to see as well. Dmitry Kulikov looked good as well, playing solid in his own zone as getting that first pass out to the forwards, as well as scoring a goal. But, the player that impressed me the most had to be Brian Campbell.

Brian Campbell was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres as their 6th round pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. He played his first game for the Sabres in the 1999–2000 season, and stayed with the team until February 26, 2008 when he was traded to San Jose. During the NHL lockout in 2004–05, he played for Jokerit in Helsinki, Finland and won the silver medal in the SM-liiga Finnish championships.

In January 2007 he was the leading vote getter amongst Eastern Conference defenceman for the 2007 NHL All-Star Game, earning him his first All-Star appearance. He appeared in the All Star Game again 2008…

On July 1, 2008, Campbell signed an 8-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks for roughly 7.1 million dollars a year. Fox Chicago reported that Campbell chose to sign with the Blackhawks despite allegedly receiving better contract offers from other organizations. He played in all 82 of Chicago’s regular season games in the 2008-09 NHL Season, scoring seven goals to go along with 45 assists. He contributed two goals with eight assists in 17 playoff games that season as Chicago advanced to the Western Conference Finals, where they were eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings.

Even knowing all of this didn’t prepare me for what I saw from Soupy…..just pure skill. He dominates the game, every time he touches the puck he does something amazing with it. I saw him spin away from attackers, stop and juke them, no look pass away from them, tape to tape…it was pure, unadulterated skill. Brian Campbell brings to the Panthers what they always hoped Jay Bouwmeester (see Calgary Paper Weights) would be for them.

“I’m a fan too. I like playmakers, and I like skill and speed,” Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon said. “I’m selling fun here.”

Everything I saw from Campbell got me excited to see not only what he will bring on the ice defensively, but the kind of plays he can set up for the forwards offensively. He will be a key point man on the power play as well.

Not to mention his veteran leadership. He has won a cup and knows what it takes, and he is one of the most respected players in the league. He will lead the Panthers to battle every night with the belief that they CAN win and that is what we need to see from leadership.

“He’s much better than I thought he was – so much better, it’s ridiculous,” said Jeremy Roenick when Campbell joined the Sharks in 2008 “He reminds me of Paul Coffey, the way he can get all the way up the ice with a couple of strides. He’s a smart player that can log a lot of minutes, almost like our version of Scott Niedermayer.”

Panthers Fans should be excited to see Campbell play this season, a be sure to look for him on the ice this season…

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