Today marks the retirement of Brian Campbell. After 17 seasons of playing Ice Hockey, Campbell has announced he will be retiring the skates.
To celebrate the years that Campbell has given us we decided it would be appropriate to write a piece looking back through the years of the greats career.
In 1997 Campbell found himself in a similar situation to what we saw this year in Chicago. A rookie coming up to the big stage, looking at the prospective teams he once dreamt of and anticipating who will take him under their wing. Positioned at pick number 22, Campbell was certain for a place in the NHL and found himself being drafted by the Buffalo Sabres. Little did he know at this point the impact he would make on the team.
As he underwent his Junior career in Ottawa, Canada, Campbell found himself taking the OHL MVP, The Canadian Major Junior player of the year, and a memorial cup. This was all in his post-draft seasons with the Ottawa 67’s.
The Buffalo Sabres
Once finishing with the Ottawa 67’s it was time for Campbell to join the Major league and play for the Sabres. In 1999 Campbell played a mere 12 games with 1 goals and 4 assists. However, from this point, till 07-08 was a sharp incline for Campbell, finding himself getting more time on the ice. With the extra game time, he found himself in 05-06 achieving 44 points in 79 games (12 goals, 32 assists). It was this season that the Sabres narrowly lost in the Eastern Conference Final to the Carolina Hurricanes (4-3). Campbell saw his best season with the Sabres in 06-07 with 48 points in 82 games. As his time with the Sabres came to a close, Campbell went out as a legend on the team, ready for new experiences.
The San Jose Sharks
It was at this same time, in his final season with the Sabres that Campbell found himself being traded to the Sharks in return for the 2008 first round draft pick and forward Steve Bernier.
In the one dislocated season with the Sharks Campbell played 20 games and achieved 19 points (3 goals, 16 assists). In this season, Campbell led the 2007-08 leaderboards for most games played with 83 games overall between the Sabres and Sharks (63-20).
This was the only season Campbell ended up playing with the Sharks and became a free agent after San Jose got eliminated by the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference semi-finals.
In this year Campbell was also named a member of the NHL Competition Committee in April.
In 2008 Campbell signed an 8-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks for around $7.1 million a year. Rumors at this time reported that Campbell has received better offers from other teams but decided to sign with the Blackhawks.
2008-09, The inaugural season with the Blackhawks was one of his best. Accumulating 52 points in 82 games (7 goals, 45 assists), playing all games that season for the Blackhawks! Then playing 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games in the same season contributing 2 games and 8 assists. Sadly once again being eliminated in the conference finals, this time to the Detroit Red Wings.
In his time with the Blackhawks, Campbell suffered a broken rib and clavicle as a result of an illegal boarding hit from Capitals captain (try saying that 10 times..) Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin found himself with a major penalty and game misconduct whilst Campbell found himself out for 6-8 weeks.
However, this didn’t stop him. Campbell returned to the Blackhawks in game four of the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. With his return, the Blackhawks managed a 3-win streak and knocked the Predators out of the playoffs. The Blackhawks fought their way into the finals and in game six, up 3-2, Cambell managed a lone assist on Patrick Kane’s overtime game-winning goal to knock out the Philadelphia Flyers and clinch the Stanley Cup.
After a phenomenal career-high time with the Blackhawks, Campbell found himself exchanged to the Florida Panthers in return for forward Rostislav Olesv. In 4 out of 5 seasons with the Panthers, Campbell found himself playing 82 games each season averaging around 42 points each time.
However, it was his first season with the Panthers that Cambell will remember. In the 2011-12 season, Campbell played 82 games and had 53 points (4 goals, 49 assists) under his belt. A truly remarkable season. It was his penalty time that really stood out though, with only six minutes! Because of his excellent defence-work, teamwork, and good sportsmanship, Campbell was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Campbell was now the first defenceman since Red Kelly in 1954 to receive the trophy.
After five seasons with the Panthers, Cambell found himself returning back to the Blackhawks on a one year contract where he would ultimately end his career.
The Final Season
In July 2016 Campbell signed a one year deal with the Blackhawks for $2 million with potential extra based upon performance. In his final season, Campbell played 80 games and accumulated 17 points (5 goals, 12 assists). At this point, Campbell left the ice professionally and announced his retirement today.
Cambell will now be joining the Blackhawks business operations department where he will work in marketing, youth hockey programs, and community/public relations. Swapping the jersey for the suit.
Alongside playing in the NHL, Cambell also had the opportunity to play for the esteemed Team Canada.
Campbell’s first experience in international hockey was in the 1999 World Junior Championships. With Canada hosting the tournament, Cambell saw himself on home ice ready to make his mark. Narrowly missing out in the Gold Medal game to Russia (3-2 OT) Canada took Silver. However, Cambell was announced as a first team all-star within the tournament.
The second time Campbell sported the maple leaf on his jersey was in the 2013 World Championships in Sweden. However, Canada saw themselves facing off against the host-side in the quarter final playoffs. Narrowly losing out in a shootout, with 3-2 to Sweden, Canadas time in the spotlight was cut short.
From all of us, Thank You, Brian Campbell. We wish you all the best with the Blackhawks and hope to see you in the news soon.
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