By Glenn Odebralski for floridapanthers.com
The Panthers made a big splash this past weekend at the draft. Not only did they add 10 more players to their prospect pool, but they acquired one of the better puck-moving, offensive defensemen in the league when they traded for Chicago's Brian Campbell
Campbell who had the power to reject a trade thanks to a no movement clause, decided that Florida was the right place to go.
"Obviously it wasn't easy. You kind of set some roots in Chicago. I enjoyed my time there. My fiancee is from there," said Campbell Saturday morning following the trade. "I think it's the opportunity to go to a team like Florida. Obvioulsy I talked to Dale Tallon a lot and I know what he's doing there and what they want to do there."
Panthers GM Dale Tallon and Campbell had several conversations about the future of the Panthers as well as where Tallon and head coach Kevin Dineen saw Campbell fitting in.
"We spoke a couple of times and explained the plan, the blueprint as you might say, similar to what we did in Chicago and that was the plan in Florida," said Tallon. "He was able to convince his family and his fiancee that this was the right move for him."
"I think it's going to be better for my career to go to a team like Florida and play an even bigger role than what I maybe was playing in Chicago," said Campbell. "Definitely looking for a lot of opportunity."
For Tallon and ultimately Dineen, adding the 32-year old rearguard to the Panthers blue line was pretty much a no brainer.
"It was pretty similar to why we brought him into Chicago. He gives us credibility," said Tallon. "He had eight teams he could select to go to and we were one of those teams. He made the commitment to us to Florida. That says a lot and that's important for us...I brought Soupy into Chicago and he's willing to come down and help us turn this franchise around and that speaks volumes."
"To get someone like what Brian Campbell
brings to the plate is an extremely exciting thing for me," said Dineen. "Coming out of the Buffalo organization, probably the one comment that would have stuck over the years, (Sabres GM) Darcy Regier would have mentioned is that I don't think anybody had a bigger passion or enjoyed the game more of hockey than he did and has found a way to become an extraordinary talent."
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Panthers Acquire Campbell Official Release
Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has acquired D Brian Campbell from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for LW Rostislav Olesz.
READ MORE ›
Campbell has been very productive since the lockout. He posted 35-plus points in five straight seasons prior to this past season and has recorded 44, 48, 62, 52, 38 and 27 points in that time.
"We don't have that dimension. Very few teams have that dimension," said Tallon. "I love the defenseman that gets involved in the play and I love offense. I love the puck posession and I love speed. I'm a fan too. I like to watch good hockey. I don't like chip it and chase and knock it in and all that stuff. I like playmakers and I like skill and speed. I want it to be fun. I'm selling fun here."
Having played in parts of 11 seasons in the league, Campbell brings a vast knowledge with him to a Panthers young blueline that includes Dmitry Kulikov
, Keaton Ellerby
, Jason Garrison
and possibly 2010 third overall pick Erik Gudbranson
"It takes time. It doesn't happen over night for young kids. It sure wasn't like that for myself," said Campbell. "I think I have some good experiences that I can share with the young players. I feel like I've had some great coaching so far in my career and I've learned a lot from them and I can provide some things that I thought were helpful for myself to those young players."
"He's got wonderful offensive skills and he's got a depth of experience where he paid his dues in the minors, worked his way into the NHL, has been a top tier player in the league for a number of years now and will be a great asset for our young group," said Dineen.
Adding Campbell was just the first step in turning around the franchise this off-season. There surely will be plenty more following him.
"We're excited about this. A lot of pain last year to get ourselves in this position," said Tallon about the flexibility to sign free agents come July 1. "We earned the right now to do what we need to do to get this franchise turned around."
"I've talked to a lot of ex-teammates that have said 'get me there, I want to go there too' and be able to make it a place that is very attractive for players to want to come to Florida and play.," said Campbell. "We'll get this organization in the right direction and start doing some good things and make fans want to come back and support a good team."