Blackhawks Senior Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman talked to the media a few hours after signing free agent defenseman Brian Campbell. Here are a few highlights:
On signing Brian Campbell: “The Blackhawks are thrilled to be adding Brian Campbell to our team. Brian’s been an important member of our team in the past, and since he’s left he’s continued his strong play. He had a great season last year so he’s on top of his game. We are really excited for the elements he brings to the table. We think he’s going to be a huge addition to our defense next season.”
On Campbell reportedly taking less money to sign with Chicago: “It’s obviously an honor, the fact that guys believe in what we’re trying to do in Chicago. We’re certainly excited about that. There’s no question that Brian had a tremendous season this past year and several good years leading up to this year. I’m sure he had other opportunities, so I think it speaks a lot to the kind of person Brian is. He’s a winner. He wants to win. I think he believes in our organization…. There’s some familiarity here with the coach, and a lot of the main players are still here. I think as a player that helps—that comfort level where you know what you’re getting into. We’re really excited that he chose Chicago.”
On what’s next in free agency: “This was our priority, clearly. I’m not going to say we won’t sign anyone else, but our main focus was to sign Brian. It’s important to have a strong group on defense. I really like the mixture that we have now. Brian brings so much to the table. His overall game is maybe a bit underrated. He has great mobility, still. He’s always been an offensive player, so he can play on the power play and add offensively. He was relied upon to kill penalties and he can do a lot of things, so that was our priority. I don’t expect us to be adding a player of significance beyond this today. We might look at some other role-type guys. I like our team right now. I think we have a lot of young players knocking at the door and there has to be spots for those guys to play. We’ve got several young players that are going to be fighting for spots. We’re not anointing certain guys on the team, but we probably have six or seven guys that can probably make the team; then it’s up to them to show us who deserves it. We’re going to be talking to some other players, but in terms of adding a high-level player like Brian, that’s not going to happen.”
One blue line depth: “I think you can never have too many defensemen. I don’t want to go into a year with just seven defensemen. You have to go in with at least 10 to 12 knowing that there’s never been a year where a team’s used seven defensemen all year long. You’ve got to be nine, 10, 11 deep. That’s the way this game goes. Everyone is going to get their opportunity.”
Brian Campbell also talked to the media after signing a one-year deal to return to Chicago.
On taking less money to sign with the Blackhawks: “It’s where my heart is. Obviously last time when I was a free agent money played a factor in it. This time it was about what’s best for me and for my family. It just makes our life perfect. We’re so ecstatic about being here.”
On his role with Chicago: “As of now, what I think my role is, I think it’s going to be to come in and put up a lot of minutes and be a guy that they can rely on every night. I have a lot left in the tank. I feel great. I felt like I had a pretty good season this past year and over the last number of years. If I’m in a top-four role, great; if I’m not, I accept whatever they give me and I’ll work hard. There’s no ego here for me. It’s about doing what’s best to win.”