The Chicago Blackhawks and free agent defenseman Brian Campbell have agreed to a one-year contract, the team announced Friday. The deal, reportedly worth $1.5 million in base salary plus performance bonuses, comes soon after the opening of NHL free agency on Friday, which saw a flurry of deals as teams raced to get veterans locked up to new contracts.
In addition to the base salary of $1.5 million, Campbell has a $750,000 bonus that he'll receive for playing in 10 games, per ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.
Campbell, 37, was one of the top defensemen available on the market after five strong seasons with the Florida Panthers. Lots of teams were in the mix for Campbell, including the rival Dallas Stars, but ultimately he opted to take a less lucrative offer from Chicago. This might not be a traditional "hometown discount" because Campbell hasn't played here in years, but it's clear the familiarity and opportunity to win a Cup gave the Hawks an advantage over other suitors.
And at just a $1.5 million base salary -- plus performance bonuses -- Campbell is about as smart a bet as you can make. The short-term deal takes away the vast majority of the risk from Chicago's perspective, and depending on the specific terms of his bonuses, there's a good chance the Hawks will only need to pay them if he continues to be productive.
Last season, Campbell played in all 82 games with the Panthers and recorded six goals, 25 assists and a +5.7 percent Corsi Relative. He remains exceptional at driving possession even at his advanced age, and could be an ideal fit next to Brent Seabrook, a stellar scoring blue liner who's saw his possession game dip last season. Here's to guessing Seabs is drooling at the idea of 82 games with Soupy instead of guys like Trevor van Riemsdyk.
We'll have more on this move and others soon, considering we have many, many weeks until the beginning of training camp, but GM Stan Bowman did really well here. You don't have many good options when you can't offer more than a couple million on a short-term deal, yet Bowman managed to convince one of the best players available to take that very contract. Certainly there were some favorable circumstances given Campbell's relationship with Chicago, and he had to make a small compromise by including some bonuses, but this is about as good a bet as you can make for so little money.