If any young prospects at Colorado’s 2008 Development Camp are looking for advice on what it takes to make it to the NHL level, they can certainly turn to T.J. Hensick and David Jones
, who both spent a good chunk of last season with the Avalanche.
But they can also look at defenseman Darcy Campbell. The Airdrie, Alberta, native went straight from finishing his junior season at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in 2006-07 to holding a roster spot with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Campbell was with the NHL club for over three weeks that year and made his NHL debut on March 30, 2007, against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Campbell then began the 2007-08 campaign with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League before being acquired by the Avalanche midway through the year and reporting to the Lake Erie Monsters.
ColoradoAvalanche.com was able to catch up with Campbell during this week’s development camp to talk about playing at the NHL level, his decision to play NCAA hockey and his Guitar Hero skills.Q: You’re one of a handful of players here at development camp that has experience at the NHL level. What was that like?
A: Surreal. The way it all went down was really odd. I went from playing in the college playoffs and a week later I was playing with the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was an unbelievable experience and I learned a lot from the guys that were there. Q: Did that experience make you hungrier to get back to the NHL level?
A: Absolutely. It’s a lot of fun and the players are so positional. It almost takes a load off your back when everyone is so good at playing their positions because it allows you to go out and make plays. Either way, you’re this far and you want to get back to the next level.Q: What was it like playing collegiately at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks?
A: The travel was really tough. You leave Tuesdays to play on a Friday because of the jet lag. That’s the hardest part. But when you’re at home and on campus you’re treated really well because hockey is the only Division I sport. Q: As a Canadian kid, what factored into your decision to go the NCAA route?
A: I didn’t really peak in hockey until late, so I wasn’t really recruited hard by any WHL teams or anything like that. When I started getting into midgets that’s when the offers came in for the schooling. I didn’t realize I’d be playing at this level of hockey, so I went the school route to get a degree. I started becoming a better playing in midgets when coaches started giving me a chance to play, which is when I really started to progress.
Q: You were only able to play a few games with the Monsters after being traded. Describe your style of play for those who haven’t had the chance to see you skate.
A: I try to play it simple. I try to be more offensive than defensive. I like to move the puck but I also like to play in my own zone. You try to model your game after the best players in the league. You try to pick and choose aspects from great players like a Scott Niedermayer or Nicklas Lidstrom.Q: What’s something that most people wouldn’t know about you? Are you a wicked guitar player or anything of that sort?
A: Definitely not a wicked guitar player. I’m a wicked Guitar Hero player maybe. I don’t really have anything special about me. In my free time I just like hanging out with my family back in Calgary.