San Joe Sharks Executive Vice President Doug Wilson struck the first major deal at the deadline when he snagged All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell and a 2008 seventh round pick from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Steve Bernier and a first round pick in 2008.
Campbell, 28, is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He has twice been named to the NHL All-Star game and has scored 40 or more points from the backend for three straight seasons.
“Brian’s a guy that gets the puck out of your zone quick,” said Wilson. “He’s a quarterback on the power play and he will complement our group really well.”
In 2007-08, Campbell has 43 points (5 goals, 38 assists) in 63 games and is third among NHL blueliners in assists and seventh in points. In 2006-07, Campbell set a career high with 48 points and a +28 plus/minus rating.
“I’m obviously excited,” said Campbell. “I talked to Doug Wilson and he’s excited. I’ll get ready and play tomorrow night.”
In the past two seasons, Campbell has played an amazing 34 playoff games and posted 13 points.
Campbell has been highly decorated throughout his career and was an All-Star at the World Junior tournament in 1999, a Major Junior First All-Star Team member and Canadian Major Junior Player of the Year in 1999.
Campbell is familiar with several players on the Sharks roster.
“I played with Curtis Brown and Mike Grier in Buffalo,” said Campbell. “I keep in touch with both. I just talked to Curtis a little bit ago. He and his wife are good friends of mine. I’ve played summer hockey with Joe Thornton
since the age of seven or eight.”
The newest Shark recently ran into his future teammates during the Sharks trek to New York City.
“I saw a bunch of them in New York last week at a restaurant,” said Campbell.
He is not extremely familiar with the Sharks with the exception of Buffalo’s big win at HP Pavilion earlier this year.
“I don’t know a whole lot about them because of the structure of the schedule,” said Campbell. “I’m going to have to learn (things) pretty quickly. (Chemistry) is probably not as bad as it is for forwards. You’ve only got to get used to one guy instead of a couple. I feel I can fit in pretty quick.”
Campbell was a bit shocked at first, which isn’t surprising considering it was his first trade.
“I had a feeling it was coming, but I didn’t’ know,” said Campbell. “It hit home pretty hard.”
After a full season of contract talks, Campbell would like to focus on the ice instead of his impending free agent status.
“I always listen to anything,” said Campbell. “To be honest, I wouldn’t mind focusing on hockey. It’s dragged on me a bit. I’d like to see how San Jose is and if it fits what I want.”
Just a hunch Campbell will enjoy the weather a bit better. The weather in Buffalo today is below the freezing mark with snow. In San Jose, it’s sunny and 60 degrees.
Campbell is aware of the noise the Sharks fans can make at HP Pavilion.
“I remember the playoff series against Detroit and how loud that building can get,” said
Campbell. “There is no better feeling than that (playoff crowds). I’d like to get past that last little hump.”
Wilson did wish good luck to Bernier who had spend the past three seasons with San Jose.
“We wish Steve the best,” said Wilson. “He’s worked really hard for us and we think he will go on and have a tremendous career.” NEXT GAME
The Sharks will play their first game with Campbell Wednesday night in Columbus and the 4 p.m. PST contest will be on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.