The Brian Campbell trade to the Rangers that probably won’t happen

June 24th, 2014 at 6:00 am by Bill

Brian Campbell is at the very least unhappy in Florida. It’s tough to blame him, he’s 35 years old and the Panthers are a country mile from being a contender. He’s in the twilight of his career and appears to want a shot at a winner. Can’t blame him for that. Where do the Rangers fit in all of this? Well, they probably don’t. But a strong argument can be made that they should.

I can hear the cries now: “But Campbell isn’t a right handed shot, you dolt”. True, but hear me out. Over the past three years, Campbell has the 12th most power play points per 60 minutes amongst defensemen. Campbell’s 51 points over that span are three less than John Moore, Marc Staal, Raphael Diaz, Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, and Anton Stralman combined. Yes, combined. In fact, Diaz leads that group with 15 points. Right handed or left handed, the Rangers need a frickin’ guy on the power play who can produce, period.

top 15 defensemen power play scoring '11-14

In addition to being a bona fide power play asset, Campbell is solid possession player. In his three years on mostly crappy Panthers teams, Campbell was a 51.6% possession player in close situations, compared to the team’s overall share of 49.7%. It’s worth noting that Campbell maintained positive possession despite playing the most minutes against the oppositions best players on mostly bad teams.

It wasn’t all positive though. In the past three years during even strength close situations, the Panthers only scored 40% of the time. But considering his strong possession numbers, I think we can chalk up being outscored to the Panthers 91.4% save percentage over that span, which was good for 29th in the NHL.

For the hell of it, let’s see how Campbell’s even strength usage compares to some of the big names in the power play scoring chart above:

player usage chart campbell staal

Okay, so if you’re observant, you got me. I included Marc Staal in this comparison. I’ve mentioned before that I could see the Rangers shopping Staal. He has one year left on his deal and he appears to have been carried along by the strong play of Stralman. While he still has ‘name value’, the Rangers would be wise to try and move him. Would the Panthers want Staal? Maybe. He probably wouldn’t re-sign in Florida, but he could theoretically fill Campbell’s minutes at even strength. The Panthers could replace Campbell’s power play minutes by increasing Dimitri Kulikov’s share of the power play time. Plus, if Campbell really is unhappy and wants out, why keep him around a young locker room?

The Panthers are in a quasi win soon mode. They just acquired Roberto Luongo and have already established their young core, though they need a few more years of seasoning. If the Panthers have a shot at the playoffs, they could keep Staal for the run. If not, they could always flip him at the deadline, which is what would likely happen. Players like Staal carry a premium that time of year. The same can be said for Campbell, but his cap hit is more problematic at the trade deadline than it is in the summer.

Speaking of Campbell’s cap hit, it’s gigantic. $7.1M and change is a ticket the Rangers could never fit. In fact, they would need the trade to be as close to cap neutral as possible. So this theoretical deal would require the Panthers to eat half the cap hit, which I doubt they would be willing to do.

I find it hard to argue that the Rangers wouldn’t be better suited with Campbell on the second pair than Staal. Okay, I’m pretty sure you can’t argue against that. I’m sure the Rangers would have to include another piece to get the deal done. But whether right handed or left handed, the Rangers need a defenseman on the power play who is capable of putting up points. It’s their achilles heel. Maybe Florida will play ball? My restless mind hopes so.


6 thoughts on “The Brian Campbell trade to the Rangers that probably won’t happen

  1. paulronty

    Sorry I’m seemingly always disagreeing but I think it was more Staal carrying Stralman than the other way around. As for a D man to run the PP, we already have that guy–McDonough.

  2. Kevin Verge

    Hey why don’t you shut your mouth, and do some research. Campbell DOES NOT want out of Florida! He has told everyone he doesn’t want out! Stop making things up you friken hoser. – From the Panthers Fan that is tired of your blog of lies.

    1. bill goldthorpe

      tallon said campbell didn’t specifically ask for a trade. but that doesn’t mean campbell is happy in florida. it doesn’t contradict that report. especially if tallon is actively trying to trade him (which is obviously theoretical), he would have an incentive to tell George Richards that campbell hasn’t asked for one.

      a hoser though? damn, i’m pretty butt hurt over that.

  3. 071189

    Glad some people, including your post, that Stralman has clearly outplayed Staal as the better player, at least over the lst 3 years. I think, injuries aside, the NHL has realized that is 1) consistently out muscled/outpositioned in the corners & and in front of the net, too often guilty of chasing the puck, is not really good at the outlet pass.
    In fact, it would be reasonable that Staal’s career has peaked and probably in decline. Unless he has eyesight/debthperception problems, his career COULD BE SALVAGED. He need literally to have a rope like tied to him allowing him not to venture past the hash marks in the facoff circle. It’s just too many times he chases the puck almost out to the point, instead of leaving that job to the forwards. He also seems to allow too many forwards to push him away from the crease. It’s really interesting to see Stralman stand in front of the net fighting off Mike Richards, jousting for position and whoever from in front of the net. Staal just gives up in front of the crease TOO EASILY. And if there are any center ice checks, Stralman is pretty much in an excluse club Staal just won’t ever be a member of. Love at how easy Stralman can quickly get out of his zone with that 1st pass Staal still struggles with.
    Having said that Campbell at 35 vs Staal’s 27 does not compute….to much of an age

  4. Pingback: Add Jeff Petry to the list of defensemen the Rangers should be interested in | Save By Richter

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