January 30 2014 08:26AM
In our continuing look at possible solutions to the Oilers defensive woes, our attention turns to sunny Florida and the Miami entry, the Panthers. Brian Campbell's career as a journeyman obscures his status as a top flight defenseman who has driven results for a long period of time. Now deep into his career, can Brian Campbell help the Oilers?
Brian Campbell has been around a long damn time. Drafted by Buffalo in 1997, he arrived as a regular in 2002 and began delivering terrific offensive seasons after the first lockout. He was sent to San Jose as a rental at the 2008 deadline and signed in Chicago that summer. Wins Stanley, 'Hawks can't afford him anymore, ship him to Florida 2011 summer.
Campbell's offense has been fairly consistent over the years (he's had a down year or two, as well) and fans who have seen him know exactly what to expect: a fine puck moving defenseman who can help a power play, a defender who can be exposed and a man who once won the Lady Byng.
That isn't the ideal resume for an Edmonton Oiler defenseman. Oiler fans like their blue tough and physical, and things like hits and blocked shots are very important to the Rexall fan. However, the math tells us winning games is a lot about possession and Campbell's been a killer in this regard for eons.
THE VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER
This year's sledgehammer shows Campbell in his natural habitat (as you'll see in a minute). He gets a zone start pus (52%) but he also plays tough opposition—and even at 34, having an average season offensively—he still delivers a fine blue bubble. That's a valuable player.
This is the shortened season, Campbell had even more of a zone start push but once again faced tough opposition. Blue bubble, just as sure as sunrise.
Crazy, isn't it? It's like he's born to do this: get the zone start push, play tough opponents and flourish! Campbell's consistency flies in the face of what we think of him as a player, but there he is in all his incredibly consistent glory. Sure as sunrise.
Here's his numbers on a line, and isn't the consistency of the Corsi For % exceptional? Man, that's the good stuff right there. Three years in a row, just rolling these things out like they're nothing. Lordy. Breathtaking.
HIS CONTRACT IS STUPID
Yes. Campbell has two more years after this one (at $7,142,875!!!!) and that's a consideration. However, that also knocks some off the asset price to acquire him and Campbell isn't 40 (he's 35 in May).
He's also averaging 27:51 a game (!!!) this year and could serve as an outstanding mentor to young puck movers like Justin Schultz.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
There are some real concerns with Campbell. He's an older player, the contract number is high and he's bringing many elements the Oilers already have in a guy like Schultz the younger.
Still, those possession stats don't lie, he could mentor J Schultz and the dollars will be easier to endure with the new cap (and it's only two seasons). I think Campbell is a player worth considering.
Up next: a brilliant option closer to home.