Chris Campoli wasn't the player the Blackhawks had their eye on coming up to the trade deadline but he was the player they got. With Jordan Hendry suffering a season ending injury just before the deadline, the Hawks were in a tough spot. Every other GM in the league knew the Hawks desperately needed another defenseman (no other GM in the league thought Scott could actually play D except Bowman) and they were all going to try and get a King's ransom for whatever the Hawks asked about. Somehow, Bowman ended up getting Campoli for Ryan Potulny and a second round pick. Initial reactions were meh but it seemed to turn out pretty good for the Hawks... well, right up until that one moment.
#14 / Defenseman / Chicago Blackhawks
Jul 09, 1984
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Contract Status: RFA (1.4 Million Cap Hit last year)
Positives: While Campoli wasn't exactly what we were looking for, he did fill in quite nicely as a third pairing defenseman and saved us all from having to see human pylon John Scott out there game after game. Campoli certainly isn't afraid to have the puck on his stick and can move the puck pretty well. That gives the Hawks at least 4 guys on the blue line who are capable of starting the puck going the other way and it was actually a nice improvement over Hendry, Boynton or Cullimore. He wasn't your normal penalty killer but also fit in pretty well there. Last season he averaged only 35 seconds of shorthanded TOI but played nearly 90 seconds per game with the Hawks. He's sound positionally... at least when you can keep him there.
Negatives: While no where near as bad as Boynton, Campoli did get a little pinch happy at times, leading to some turnovers and rushes the other way. But that sort of thing will happen and your guys in the 5 or 6 spot are going to hurt you sometimes.. that's why they're in the 5 or 6 role. There was this one other thing too though...
Defining Momet: Should Campoli's season be defined by one bad turnover? No. Does that mean it won't happen? Probably not. Campoli only played 26 games with the Hawks and with a little extra time he may have done something else that was easily remembered but he didn't so we're left with this (warning - you might not want to watch this if the memories are still sore):
The sad part is it wasn't the worse turnover we saw all year it's just the one that hurt the worst. Campoli should have taken a look up and noticed Burrows was there or tried to put it off the glass... or maybe even just held on to it for a second longer. But so it goes.
Outlook: Crawford is certainly the first priority for the Blackhawks but after that comes Campoli and Frolik. Campoli fills in perfectly as a bottom pairing guy and has room for improvement. On some teams he might even crack the second pairing. The big question is, can the Hawks afford to keep him? His hit was 1.4 M last year and common consensus is that he is getting a raise. How much is the question... Campoli was the first and so far only Blackhawk to go under the knife so far this offseason. A full and quick recovery is expected but it could hurt his asking price.
Grade: A solid B. He isn't flashy but isn't horrible. I'd certainly like him back if the price is right but that remains to be seen.