Slipping through the cracks of a refreshingly busy weekend for NHL roster news of many varieties was the announcement that Boston Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer has joined the list of those players who have opted out of participation in the upcoming postseason. Kampfer took to Twitter to state that he has made the difficult decision not to return to the Bruins for their upcoming postseason run. The veteran revealed that his wife and son suffer from a congenital heart defect that can be complicated by the effects of COVID-19. For that reason, he made a decision that no one can fault him for to put his family’s health and safety first.
Kampfer, 31, is a veteran of 211 NHL games, including ten this season with Boston. While he had not played a major role this season with the Bruins, the team valued his presence last season as they dealt with consistent injury issues on the back end. Kampfer was one of a dozen defensemen to suit up for the Bruins in the 2018-19 season, playing in 35 regular season games as well as three playoff games. His experience and intelligent puck-moving came in handy in tough spots for the Bruins last year and the team rewarded him with a two-year extension last summer. They undoubtedly would like to have him this postseason in case the going gets tough again. Instead, they will have to make do without him for now and hopefully welcome him back next season.
However, the Bruins are in good shape on the blue line, especially given the time off to enter the playoffs fully healthy for the first time in several years. While the team will be missing Kampfer and Kevan Miller, out all season due to injury, Boston’s training camp roster features ten defensemen with NHL experience. This includes their regular top five of Charlie McAvoy, Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, and Matt Grzelcyk, a trio of dependable options to fill out the starting lineup in John Moore, Jeremy Lauzon, and Connor Clifton, and top prospects Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril.