Although defenseman Brian Campbell wound up declining a bigger contract offer from Florida both in terms of years and dollars, he told George Richards of the Miami Herald that he has no regrets about spurning that in order to return to Chicago:
“I’m smiling now, I’m happy. I don’t look back and I know I made the right decision when I signed here. I did it for my family and for myself as a hockey player. Hopefully I have a bunch of years left but I want to make the most of them.”
Back in June, GM Tom Rowe offered Campbell a two year, $8MM deal in the hopes that negotiations would ensue from there. However, the 37 year old had his heart set on going back to Chicago where he and his family kept a summer home there despite the fact that he had been traded from the Blackhawks back in 2011. Given that Chicago is perpetually hovering right near the salary cap though, they weren’t able to come close to matching Florida’s initial offer; he wound up for signing for a $1.5MM guarantee and a $750K games played bonus, one that has already been achieved.
Campbell is playing a smaller role than he had with the Panthers as his average ice time is down over three and a half minutes per game from last season. However, he has been a quality contributor so far for the Blackhawks in a depth role, picking up eight points in 24 games while logging a regular role on the power play.
Elsewhere in the Central Division:
- Although he has been a healthy scratch in seven of the last 12 games, St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong still stands by his acquisition of Nail Yakupov, writes Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Armstrong feels that the low acquisition price (a conditional third round pick and ECHL prospect Zach Pochiro) makes the move a worthwhile gamble, even if Yakupov only plays a sparing role. He also highlighted the recent play of right winger Dmitrij Jaskin as one of the reasons that Yakupov hasn’t played as much recently. Still, it’s fair to wonder if the former number one overall pick in 2012 could be in need of another change of scenery given that his $2.5MM cap hit is steep for the depth role Yakupov currently has.
- Colorado prospect left winger Sam Henley will make his NHL debut tonight against Columbus, reports Terry Frei of the Denver Post. Henley, an undrafted free agent signing back in 2014, has just four points in 19 games this season with AHL San Antonio but the team is interested in his ability to kill penalties as they’re set to take on the number one power play in the league. Gabriel Bourque, another checking forward, will also make his season debut and should see time on the penalty kill as well.
- The Predators have downgraded the status of left winger James Neal from day-to-day to week-to-week, The Tennessean’s Adam Vingan notes. He suffered an upper body injury against Winnipeg last week. Also, defenseman Anthony Bitetto, who just last week returned after missing 18 games with an upper body injured, suffered a broken hand on Tuesday and will be back on the shelf for another six weeks.