Player Eval #3: Chris Campoli

With the Cup safely stationed in Boston and the year finally closed, we can now get back to talking about all things Blackhawks. The ending of the 2010-11 season brought back many thoughts on the Hawks. I was reminded about how close they really were to eliminating the Canucks in the 1st round, the many concerns and celebrations leading up to that series and how it finally came to a close. 

It ended with a turnover by Campoli to Kesler in OT and I doubt it has been the defining moment for Chris, but it was all too fitting of an ending for the Hawks this year. With that said, I think we all expect more out of this club in the 2011-12 season and much of their success will start with looking at what they have, and then making the necessary changes. The talent on this team is overflowing and some hard choices need to be made when much of that talent fell short this year.
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Chris Campoli:
A 7th round selection in the 2004 draft by the Islanders, Campoli had a very strong rookie season. On top of that, he has also earned a few humanitarian awards. A groin injury sidelined him for the following year and also stunted his progression into the NHL. Most recently, Campoli found his way to the Blackhawks with the need to fill a hole in the 6th D spot. He came from Ottawa for a conditional 2nd round pick and Ryan Potulny.
I don't think anyone would argue that it was a trade that went in Chicago's favor. Looking for a 5-6 spot guy, I think the Hawks found someone who can play in the top 4. From the get go, Campoli looked to be very happy in a Hawk's uniform and his offensive skills were quite present. A huge fan of Hendry, I was quickly turned to a belief in Campoli's skill and felt like he was the better player by far. Not only did he come and find success in the Hawk's system of play, he did it within a struggling defense. I went to the UC early in his Hawk's career and witnessed more than one moment when Keith could be seen yelling at Campoli and even Leddy, though every interview showed a pleasant and determined human being who wanted to help make the Blackhawks a stronger force in the NHL.
In his 20 games as a Hawk, he recorded 7 points and was a +3. He seemed to fit into every situation the Hawks wanted him to. He saw some PP and PK time, moved around a bit in the D units and showed explosive speed, which allowed him to pinch and get back in time to cover. The largest concern with his acquirement was his size. We all know the Hawks need a big man on D who can move quickly, but Campoli is not small by any means at 6', 200 pounds and he showed a great comfort physically. I actually felt like he was the Hawk's most physical D-man towards the end there.
His ability to move the puck and sneak in the back door could have been used more effectively if you ask me. I don't think we saw the best of what Campoli can offer. I pride myself on recognizing the players who's skating abilities are at the top of the game and Campoli is one of them. In many ways, I think he can be the Campbell that we had all hoped for and at a much lower price tag.
With Crawford signed, Campoli is a huge priority in my eyes. Yes, I think the Hawks need some size, but I am a firm believer that it is not completely necessary either. If the Hawks get really good at the system they were trying to create, I think Campoli fits in extremely well, can take some of the much needed minutes off of Keith's back and provide an effective physical presence while being a great puck mover and offensive threat. His surgery makes him a tad less marketable, but that just might help the Hawks sign him at a fair price. There is much to talk about in his eventual signing. I think that it will hold a bearing on the status of other players, especially in the D. Hjammer, Leddy, and Campbell more specifically. I say sign him and figure it out as the season progresses. 
My final Grade, and this is going on only 20 games of play, is an A-. One might expect a higher grade based on what I just wrote, but that bad turnover and lingering questions given his short time with the Hawks hold me to slightly below an A. Give him something to work towards. Besides that one turnover, I have a really hard time thinking of a moment when he didn't play the puck extremely well, and he performed brilliantly on a brand new team who was obviously frustrated. Lets see what he can do with more time and comfort. I expect much more point production in the future.

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  • Hi guys,
    Good synopsis on Campoli, HH. Well, the good news is the cap is going up to 64M.
    This changes things somewhat from managements perspective, I'm sure. The extra cash can now be used to re-up Frolik and Brouwer and quite likely Campoli with some cap cash to spare for the 4th line bruisers

  • Nice wrap on Campoli HH
    What I really like in your piece HH is the assertion that we don't possible need the size in the back end IF, and it's a gigantic if, they can continue to improve on the puck moving/puck control paradigm. (not surprisingly, this theme may be repeated in a nearly already complete wrap on Campbell. If the Hawks are able to rebuild an "energy" line, then Campoli sneaks on the backdoor may be exactly what is possible and I could see him being very effective.

    While I have been more in the camp of thinking size is not quite as important, I can't help but think of the sand in the gears that the Bruins became for the Nucks. Certainly the Nucks self immolated as much as they got handled, but on Bruins home ice, they absolutely got bitch slapped. Campoli as the poor mans Brian Campbell has a ring of truth to it for me but I don't think they could play together. Though I think Campoli could fill in up and down the line at times to bring TOI relief to Keith and Campbell, especially against weaker teams, I still see him primarily as a third pair guy and the big question then to me is who does he pair well with or what kind of guy do you bring in for him to pair with? I'm not sold on Leddy being that guy. Still, I like a lot of what you said here.

  • Nice nod on the salary cap situation fourfeather. I was expecting some news like this, given the talks around the NHL and the type of deals SB was making (Seabrook and Crawford). He knew there would be extra dough by next season's start. That extra dough comes out to be around 11 mil and that looks pretty sweet, especially with the need to wrap up Sharp looming in the near future. Truly great news for the Hawks.

    I also have a feeling that Hjalmer will not be around that much longer, but Im not so sure it will be a smart move when it happens. I think, and this will be backed up in the nearly completed eval on him, that Hjalmer was the brunt of some unnecessary criticism this season. There was a time when he was the only D-man performing well and actually playing strong defense. He was also the most physical for a great time, when Seabrook was nowhere to be found. He is the only guy who gives his body for the team in the way he does and I think this coming year will treat him better. His puck moving ability should be a focus during the off-season and hopefully he comes back with a few tricks up his sleeve.

  • Just for the heck of it. Here's a 23 man roster with a rumored addition(John Madden). I used a 64 Million cap and gave the RFAs a 100K bump in salary. Team salary 62.3 million. Thanks Capgeek..

    BW

    FORWARDS
    Patrick Kane ($6.300m) / Jonathan Toews ($6.300m) / Marian Hossa ($5.275m)
    Patrick Sharp ($3.900m) / Dave Bolland ($3.375m) / Marcus Kruger ($0.900m)
    Bryan Bickell ($0.541m) / Michael Frolik ($1.375m) / Jeremy Morin ($0.886m)
    Troy Brouwer ($1.125m) / John Madden ($1.250m) / Tomas Kopecky ($1.200m)
    / / Ben Smith ($0.812m)

    DEFENSEMEN
    Duncan Keith ($5.538m) / Brent Seabrook ($5.800m)
    Niklas Hjalmarsson ($3.500m) / Brian Campbell ($7.142m)
    Chris Campoli ($1.500m) / Nick Leddy ($1.116m)
    Jordan Hendry ($0.700m) / John Scott ($0.512m)

    GOALTENDERS
    Corey Crawford ($2.666m) / Alexander Salak ($0.612m)

    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
    (these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
    SALARY CAP: $64,000,000; CAP PAYROLL: $62,330,504; BONUSES: $965,000
    CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $1,669,496

  • Interesting comments from SB in the DH today.

    "'As for the Hawks

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    I would like to see Johnson back. He brought a great edge to the PK.
    I would miss Kopecky too, but I understand if that move happens.

    My guess is that Brouwer might not be around. Stalberg might be worth another year to see what happens, but Frolik and Campoli are big sure things. For me anyway.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    Anybody think it's worth a gamble to bring in Jagr to play on the second line with Frolik and Hossa?

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    Riot talk still all over the news here in Vancouver except on sportstalk radio where the CFL is getting some love and the rest is draft hype. Thank God it is over except for the lawsuits.

    Love the evaluations of Campbell and Campoli and pretty much agree with it all.

    NHL is two seasons. Regular is when penalties are called and players like the Sedins excel. Play-offs is when nothing is called and players like the Sedins get bolo batted by the Marchands of the world.

    Puck possession is grand really only when you have players who will get the puck back for the skill guys, who are preferably in a Toews mold and not soft.

    Skill we have got, snottiness is something we are short on.

    I wonder how the room was last season ? Bowman might be trying to fix issues there. Were Madden and Sopel of more importance to the Cup win than their on-ice performance indicated ? I have always liked teams who had an old fart or two. Campbell for some grit is my hope.

    Thanks for providing a place to talk Hawks.

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