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Retired Brian Campbell says Blackhawks didn’t offer him a new contract

Chicago was ready to move on, so the former defenseman was, too.

2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Practice Day & Family Skate Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Brian Campbell didn’t get a contract offer from the Chicago Blackhawks before deciding to retire from the NHL after 17 seasons, the longtime defenseman revealed at his press conference Tuesday.

"They were going to move in a different direction. That was fine with me,” Campbell said at the United Center after being asked whether the Blackhawks showed interest in bringing him back.

Campbell took a discounted one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Blackhawks last season to finish his career in Chicago. He told reporters Tuesday that he took calls from other teams this summer regarding the possibility of playing elsewhere, but in the end he decided it was time to hang up the skates and move into the next phase of his life.

The Blackhawks seem to be doing the same as they look to get younger and faster on defense next season. The team traded Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Coyotes for Connor Murphy before the opening of free agency, then did little to address a defense that will see some new faces next season.

On the left side, Chicago still has Duncan Keith to anchor the show, but it appears the team will be hoping that some combination of Gustav Forsling, Michal Kempny, and Erik Gustafsson can fill the other two spots. Campbell, a lefty, tried at times to play on his offside last season given the Hawks’ needs on the right side, but he was clearly more comfortable in the team’s puck-moving system without having to rely on backhand passes or transitioning the puck to his forehand before making the pass.

Without a clear need for Campbell anymore as the Hawks try to get younger, they instead asked him to join their front office in a business operations role, where he’ll help with marketing and other projects. McDonough said Tuesday that it’s possible he just hired his future replacement as team president, referring to the Kings’ decision to hire former star Luc Robataille for the team role, and it doesn’t seem impossible.