HARD TARGET SEARCH: BRIAN CAMPBELL

 

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? 

TRADES

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. 

  • oilfan in yyc

    Everyone’s numbers are better in the southeast, although I suppose the now Atlantic division is more difficult. To say that Chicago couldn’t afford to keep him might be a bit misleading, I don’t remember him being a top pairing guy on their cup run, and don’t remember him actually playing that great for them, I think they more likely couldn’t afford to pay a guy that much to be a number 3/4 guy.. Might just be my memory though.

  • Zarny

    Campbell’s contract is stupid. That’s a deal breaker for me.

    As a player Campbell is not the ideal solution. He is better than what the Oilers have but his weaknesses also mirror weaknesses the Oilers already have.

    So any solution including Campbell would also still require a big, physical top pairing D to handle stuff like defense and breaking up the cycle against guys like Thornton and Getzlaf.

    At $7,142,875 per season that becomes very difficult if not impossible. Especially in 2015-16 when Yak’s next contract kicks in and MacT goes fishing for the pieces he can’t get this year.

    • Yak Attack

      This is exactly what this team needs ! This would be a bridge to the future. We need real NHL defensemen to gap the 2 or 3 years before our crop of draftee’s make or break it.

      What we also have been missing in our never ending re-re-re build is veterans to mentor and teach the kids how to be men.

  • Rdubb

    Lowetide, come on man, I almost always agree with you, but this one, this has to be one of the worst things you have ever “put out there”, period!
    Campbell is older, but not that old. He is also considered an “offensive defenseman”, not a “shut down defenseman” which is what we need. You and your co-horts @ 1260 always say that our top 6 is too much alike, which is where their problems arise, wouldn’t adding Brian be the exact same thing on defense?
    Are we not loaded with guys who are this type of player (albeit with no where nearly the experience), such as Petry, Schultz, MM (once he gets more confidence playing in the NHL his offensive abilities should shine). That’s already 3 guys who are playing a ton of minutes. Now you can also add in up and comers Klefbom & perhaps Gernat to that list too. Then we also have Larson (albeit he doesn’t play a great deal @ this time)…
    Or, am I wrong in my thoughts?
    I’d really like to hear what you think Lowetide, maybe you can change my mind with a good argument, but I’d also like to hear if I have got you move a bit too with my argument?
    Just my opinions
    PECK