With all of the salary dumping that the Hawks have done so far in the offseason, many names came up many different times as far as who might be next to go. One name that fans seemed to hone-in on as a guy to move was defenseman Brian Campbell. There seemed to be an odd clamour for Campbell to be moved, and my initial recation was surprise. After a little bit of research, I feel confident in saying that, while Campbell is certainly making more dough than he is earning, Hawk fans have an illegitimate hate for Campbell that simply is illogical.
The contract I most compare Campbell's to is Alfonso Soriano. Both men were signed as "big-name" free agents with large expectations to live up to their respective large contracts. While Campbells contract, eight-years for $56.8, $7.14 million a year. is meager compared to Soriano's, eight-years at $136 million, avergaing $17 million a year, they are comparable withing their respective sports.
Campbell certainly has done a better job earning his salary than Soriano. In his first two seasons with the Blackhawks, Campbell has scored 52 (7-45) 38 (7-31). He played in only 68 games in '09-10, while he appeared on ice in all 82 the prior year. The 2009-10 season also saw Campbell improve on his plus/minus as well; improving from +5 his first year to +18 this past season. However, this is not even the primary reason to reconsider your disdain for Campbell.
Does anyone still remember the Nashville series? The Hawks looked like they were skating on slippers during the first handful of games. The powerplay was a stutter at best and the Hawks were slowed down and pushed around by the Predators. Not to poke the tender wounds of the Dustin Byfuglien trade, but his sloppy defense was a large reason why the Predators looked good on offense in the two games they won (and the third they nearly won).
When Campbell finally reemerged from the Ovechkin hit, the Hawks finally regained some speed of the powerplay. Byfuglien was then able to slide right in front of the net for the rest of playoffs and win the spotlight, and a eventually a fresh home to make some star cash. My point? Maybe the Hawks would've gone down in the playoffs if Brian Campbell had not returned to lineup.
Just like a shaky baseball bullpen, when someone goes down in hockey, certain players' roles will change. Byfuglien was put into a position where he was obviously uncomfortable, and the powerplay displayed a drastic lag. Campbell is no superstar, and he's not worth $7.14 million a year, but he's had two pretty good seasons for the Hawks, and the Hawks are obviously a better team when he is on the ice.
So what's with the Campbell hate Hawks fans?