The Chicago Blackhawks welcomed Brian Campbell back into the fold with a one-year, $2MM deal on Friday. Hawks beat writer Chris Kuc writes that not only does the decision strengthen the Blackhawks top four defensemen, but that it brings back a player who always wanted to return. The signing was lauded by Blackhawk superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and was a move that general manager Stan Bowman made for a defenseman he feels has an “underrated” game. In 2015-16, Campbell was a +31 and registered 31 points (6-25).
- The St. Louis Blues are grappling with the loss of two major leaders in their locker room writes Jeremy Rutherford. When David Backes signed with Boston and Troy Brouwer headed to Calgary, Rutherford reports that the roster is a far cry from the one that propelled the Blues to a Western Conference Final trip in 2016. The Blues will also have to name a new captain for the first time since 2011, and general manager Doug Armstrong said that the term Backes was looking for served as a pause for his re-signing. On Brouwer, Rutherford writes that Armstrong countered with what he thought was a strong deal, but at the end of the day, the winger decided on Calgary’s offer instead.
- Yahoo’s Greg Wyshynski writes that Dallas’ signing of defenseman Dan Hamhuis was “genius.” Wyshynski notes that the term and amount (two-year, $3.75MM) is a bargain for a defenseman the Stars wanted to acquire at the trade deadline. Mike Heika reports that the Stars got the man that is the best fit for their team, and also at a price and term that is very flexible. Heika sees Hamhuis as a natural pairing with Stars youngster John Klingberg for bench boss Lindy Ruff.
- The Star Tribune’s Michael Russo reports on what the Wild could look like on the ice next season. Russo pencils newly acquired Eric Staal in the middle with Zach Parise at left wing and also indicates that the Wild are talking with free agent Matt Cullen, who is fresh off a Stanley Cup win with the Penguins. Russo adds that Cullen’s intrigue with the Wild would be that close friend Staal signed yesterday.