As we approach the April 3rd trade deadline, rumors of all shapes and sizes find their way onto the internet. Some have more credence than others but all are fun to speculate on. The recent news that the Panthers are willing to trade any player not named Erik Gudbranson, Jonathan Huberdeau, Drew Shore or Jacob Markstrom, has led to much speculation about which players exactly will be moved.
The latest name to pop up in rumorville is Brian Campbell. You can read the rumors here and here. In terms of cold hard fact, there is not much there but it is still worth taking a look at whether the Panthers would really trade Brian Campbell.
Why Florida Doesn’t Move Campbell:
- His Contract: Brian Campbell is signed with the Panthers through the 2015-16 season and he will make $7,142,875 per year. For any team to trade for Campbell they would not only have to give up some talented players but would also need to have a very flexible salary cap situation. I do not think that there are a lot of teams out there willing to add another $7 million to their payroll at the deadline. Campbell also has a no trade clause which he could exercise if he does not approve of any trade the Panthers come up with.
- Florida Panthers asking price: We have seen how a trade can stall when a team has an asking price for a player that other teams in the league are reluctant to meet (ahem.. Roberto Luongo). Could this occur with the Panthers and Dale Tallon? One factor again would be Campbell’s contract. Teams would already feel like they are doing Florida a favor by taking the $7 million per year off the teams’ hands and they might be reticent to give up the kind of talent Florida would be asking for in addition to taking on the big cap hit.
- Dale Tallon-Brian Campbell Bromance: Could Dale Tallon really trade Brian Campbell? When Campbell signed his 8 year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, with Dale Tallon as the GM, it was reportedly for less money than he could have received elsewhere. When Tallon traded for Campbell as the GM of the Panthers before the 11-12 season, the Panthers were not on the list of 8 teams Campbell had that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause for. He waived his no trade clause anyway, was reunited by Dale Tallon and the rest is history. While they may not be at the point where they have their own celebrity couple name (Tambell anyone?) it is clear that Campbell likes playing for Dale Tallon run teams and Tallon likes having Cambell on his teams. That may not be reason enough not to trade Campbell but it could be a factor.
Why Florida Does Move Campbell:
- His contract: Campbell’s contract works in both directions. While many teams would not love the idea of taking on a $7 million cap hit, the Panthers would probably be pretty excited about shaving a cool $7 million from their payroll. Campbell is a very good player and could very well be worth the money but if the Panthers are serious about possibly trading him, one of the reason they would go through with a trade would be to save some money that they could spend elsewhere.
- Florida’s miserable season: The Panthers have been terrible this year. Yes they have been devastated by injury but even before the injuries they were playing terrible. After the success of Florida’s 11-12 season, many thought the team would continue to improve or at least play at the same level again this year. Well that hasn’t happened, the other shoe dropped and the cruel truth is the Panthers still have a ways to go to get back to respectability and franchise stability. While I personally believe that Brian Campbell is part of the solution, I can see how the teams struggles this year may convince the team to move him.
- Campbell may be a bad fit for the Panthers: I know I can hardly believe I just wrote such blasphemy, but when you think about it, maybe there is some truth to that statement. If you think about Campbell’s style of play does it really mesh with what the Panthers need right now? Campbell is a defenseman but more than that he is an offensive quarterback who happens to play defense. Right now Campbell ranks dead last in the NHL in plus minus at -18. While that stat probably has to do with the fact the he logs the most minutes on a team with porous goaltending that has given up a league high 110 goals, it also can lead one to question whether the Panthers are more in need of a lock down defenseman than a player who is giving just as much if not more thought to the offensive end of things. Again, I would prefer it if Campbell stays in Florida but I could see how the Panthers organization could start to question if they might be better off moving Campbell.
So What Happens?
I think the Florida Panthers will not trade Brian Campbell at the deadline. I honestly do not believe that the team is sincerely trying to move him, the rumors may be just that, rumors. I believe that the Panthers’ see Campbell as a big part of the team going forward and I think that when some more of Florida’s young talent makes it to the NHL and starts making an impact we will see Campbell become a much better fit. Even if the team wants to trade Campbell I do not see them getting an offer they like or any teams willing to take on his unruly contract. Having said all that, if a team steps up and makes a killer offer for Campbell I think the Panthers would go through with it, hard as it might be to split up Tambell.