Today happens to be Gregory Campbell’s 33rd birthday and the Columbus Blue Jackets may have just given him a welcome present. According to Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch (Twitter link), the Blue Jackets have placed the veteran center on unconditional waivers. Per Portzline, assuming Campbell clears, as he likely will, he would become an unrestricted free agent.
Earlier this season, Columbus waived Campbell with the intent of sending him down to their AHL affiliate in Cleveland. However, once he cleared waivers, the 12-year veteran informed the club he would not report to Cleveland and he was suspended by the Blue Jackets without pay. Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen had tried to trade Campbell prior to placing him on waivers but was unable to find a taker.
Since refusing assignment to Cleveland, Campbell has been working out on his own and waiting for his next opportunity. It now appears as if is that opportunity could be near at hand.
Campbell was in the final season of a two-year deal he inked with the Jackets in the summer of 2015. He was slated to make $1.3MM in salary and would have accounted for $1.5MM against Columbus’ cap had he not been suspended. If a team should place a claim on the 33-year-old center, they would assume the prorated portion of his salary.
Prior to joining Columbus, Campbell played five seasons for the Bruins, where he developed a reputation as a solid fourth-line pivot and quality penalty killer. It’s possible a club looking for depth in its bottom-six and/or some help on the penalty kill will take a chance on Campbell once he officially reaches free agency.
Campbell scored three goals and 11 points while suiting up for all 82 games with Columbus in 2015-16. For his career, he has registered 187 regular season points in 803 games and another 13 in 59 postseason contests. He won a Stanley Cup while with Boston in the 2010-11 campaign.