The Florida Panthers already have a number of moving parts this offseason, but we may need to add star defenseman Brian Campbell to the list. With two years remaining on his contract, Campbell is hoping to get traded out of Florida this summer, reports Fox Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland.
Campbell, 35, signed an eight-year, $56 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2008, a few years before he would be traded to Florida in a cost-cutting move. The Panthers hoped to anchor their top defensive line with Campbell, and while he’s mostly done that, the team’s fortunes haven’t improved significantly.
As Pro Hockey Talk notes, the promise of an improved roster was one of the reasons Campbell waived his no-trade clause in 2011 to join Florida, so his frustration with the franchise is somewhat understandable. After winning a Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010, Campbell has missed the playoffs in each of his three seasons playing for the Panthers.
If Campbell does end up getting dealt, money will likely be one of the biggest factors in any trade. Because he wasn’t signed to one of those back-loaded, excessively long deals that became popular before the league started punishing teams for circumventing the salary cap, Campbell’s cap number sits at $7.14 million for the next two seasons.
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That’s obviously a big number, and while Campbell’s production has remained solid in recent years, many teams will likely shy away from giving up talent and a top-level salary to a guy who posted a minus-37 over the past three seasons.
However, there’s a distinct lack of high-quality defensemen on the market beyond Matt Niskanen, Danny Boyle, Andrei Markov and a few others, so Campbell will command interest if Florida starts taking offers.
Most likely, that would happen before the draft, as the Panthers own the No. 1 pick and presumably would like to have their offseason plan — and whether or not it includes Campbell — in place by then.