According to Andy Strickland of Fox Sports Midwest, Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell wants out of the organization. The 35-year old defenseman was acquired in 2011 after signing a huge contract in 2008 with the Chicago Blackhawks.
With 2-years left and cap hit a little over $7 million each year, it is going to be hard to find a dancing partner who is willing to do a straight up trade. The Panthers are no strangers to eating salary, as they are already paying money to two players not on the roster – Filip Kuba and Kris Versteeg.
Campbell has never missed a game with the Panthers, playing in all 217-games possible since coming over. Acquired a year after the team shockingly made the playoffs, it has been a steady decline to the bottom of the league, and with a few years left before they resurface as contenders Campbell appears unwilling to spend his last few seasons with a rebuilding team.
The team’s leading ice-time leader, Campbell’s smooth skating and offensive ability could be a valued addition to any team looking for a puck moving defenseman.
With this report, it can only help fuel the fires of two potential trade rumors linked to the Panthers involving the first overall pick. The Edmonton Oilers have been long linked to the first pick, as they need a defenseman and would love to get Aaron Ekblad. Now the potential exists to pick up a piece for the present as well as a building block looking to the future.
Campbell can be there power play quarterback for the next two years while taking some pressure off the young Justin Schultz and Ekblad (assuming part of the deal is the first pick) until they are fully ready to take over.
Of course this is just at the ‘report’ stage, and until we actually see a move happen, that’s all it’ll be. Any trade involving Campbell will likely begin with how much salary the Panthers are willing to retain, unless in the Maple Leafs case where Phaneuf has a similar cap number.
Moving Campbell without getting another NHL ready defenseman could be risky, as if he is moved it leaves only Ed Jovanovski, Colby Robak and Alex Petrovic as players under contract for next season. Dylan Olsen, Erik Gudbranson, and Dmitry Kulikov are all restricted free agents and are expected to be back – but because they are free agents, even restricted, there is some risk involved.