2010 NHL Entry Draft: Jack Campbell – "This is a dream come true."

Campbell.jpgJack Campbell knew he was going to be picked by the Dallas Stars. He
may have been a bit unsure about it when defenseman Cam Fowler dropped
unexpectedly to the Stars, but all along he just had the feeling that
this was the organization he was going to.

He couldn’t be happier.

Campbell
had a big smile on his face after he was picked by the Stars are #11,
as he stated several times how excited he was to be able to be a part of
an organization with a history of turning out quality NHL goaltenders.
He did admit that that he was a bit worried, however, when the Stars
pick came up and two of the top defensemen in the draft were still on
the board.

“I had no idea where I was going to end up,” Campbell said. “Fowler
kept dropping, and
this really is the true definition of the draft. You just don’t know
what’s going to happen and you really just have to enjoy the process. To
be picked by the team I wanted to be [picked by] the most, it’s really a
dream come true.”

Some may have been caught off guard by Campbell going this high and
to the Dallas Stars, but depth at goaltender was a big need for the
Stars as they have just two young goaltenders in the system and neither
of them considered to be elite.

General manager Joe Nieuwendyk says that even with Fowler there, the
Stars were going after Campbell.

“Our guys felt most strongly about this kid,” said Nieuwendyk. “After
Hall and Seguin,
the next player that had the best chance to be an impact, franchise
player was Jack Campbell. He was the one guy right from the start, and
when he was there at #11 we took him.”

The Dallas Stars now have the best young goaltender as part of their
system, a player who should be with the NHL within just a few years.
Campbell is a tremendously gifted goaltender, who thrives on the
pressure that is on his shoulders when his team needs him most.

“I love the pressure moments and when the game is on the line I love
to be the one in net,” Campbell told Pro Hockey Talk after he was
drafted. “I love that pressure, I want to be in there when I’m 18 years
old and
show the Stars what I’m capable of in the NHL. I know I have a lot of
work to do and Dallas has a plan for me and I’m going to do everything I
can to be ready.”

Campbell was the first American picked in the draft, something he
certainly wasn’t expecting with Cam Fowler supposed to go ahead of him.
With Fowler being picked by the Anaheim Ducks at #12, Campbell said that
he’s looking forward to some divisional games against the defenseman.

Campbell is chomping at the bit to make a difference for the Stars as
soon as possible, as he knows what the depth of the position was like
in Dallas before he was drafted. With the history the Stars have with
goaltenders, and the fact that Campbell has idolized Marty Turco, he
knows he has the potential to be the franchise goaltender for the Stars
sooner than later.

“Dallas is a great organization but the goaltending depth in Dallas
was what was really appealing to me and something I noticed before the
draft,” Campbell said when asked what it was about Dallas that he liked.
“I want to make sure I jump at this opportunity and make the best
of it.

“My goal is to be a franchise goalie in the NHL. I know I
have a long way to go to get there, but playing night in and night out
in Windsor will be a great experience and I’m really looking forward to
it.”

That’s certainly a bit of a ways off. Despite his talent and his
desire to start winning games in a Stars jersey as soon as possible,
he’s likely on his way to go play with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL.

Of course, Stars fans are questioning this pick considering that
Dallas just signed Kari Lehtonen to a three-year contract. He was
supposed to be the franchise goaltender, and now the Stars passed up a
defenseman and grabbed another “franchise goaltender”.

The reality is that Campbell won’t be with the Stars for a few years,
and now the Stars have a legitimate backup option for Lehtonen before
he eventually takes over as the starting goaltender. By the time he’s
there, he’ll be just 22 or 23 years old — the perfect age for a young
player to start his time as the long-term, franchise goaltender.

That’s exactly what Campbell is prepared to be ready for.

“I’m going to be working as hard as I can so that when [Dallas] calls
me I’m ready to step in and play and I’ll be ready.”

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    No suspensions, just fines for Dustin Brown, Evgeni Malkin

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    At least one things seems consistent when it comes to the NHL’s fines and suspensions: Dustin Brown sure has a knack for avoiding supplemental discipline.

    The hard-hitting Los Angeles Kings forward agitates and frustrates, and sometimes he hurts with polarizing hits. Yet, even with a resume full of debatable checks, Brown only has one suspension to his name.

    Many expected that toll to rise to two today after an ugly looking cross-check on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz, but that was not the case. Instead, the Department of Player Safety is only giving Brown a $10K fine.

    Evgeni Malkin was also fined $5K for spearing Brown (video isn’t available at the moment, but many claim that Malkin speared Brown in the groin).

    The Penguins ended up winning last night 3-1, adding to their recent upswing and extending the Kings’ losing streak to five games.

    You can see the Brown incident, which drew a match penalty, in the video above this post’s headline. Brown explained his side of the story, as you can see in this post, and maybe that hearing ended up going in his favor?

    “I’m going to close on him. He stumbles, toe picks. I don’t drive him into the wall or anything,” Brown said afterward via LA Kings Insider. “Also, closing on the play, at the most it’s probably a two, I think. I mean, who knows because of the protocol and all that, but it’s one of those plays where I’m going to close and he’s in an unfortunate spot.”

    The bright side is that Schultz at least seems OK.

    Even so, plenty of people are upset with this drawing a mere fine instead of forcing Brown to miss time, particularly in the backdrop of Andrew Cogliano seeing his ironman streak end thanks to a two-game suspension.

    This isn’t just a matter of Penguins fans griping, either, as Brown tends to draw wider ire from observers in moments like these.

    The Department of Player Safety is no stranger to handing out head-scratching rulings, but we’re no longer in the Brendan Shanahan days in which there would be more widespread explanations for decisions. The league seems responsive when it comes to complaints about spin-o-ramas and lengthy offside reviews, but when it comes to suspensions and fines, it seems like fans and media are still on for an uphill battle.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Ryan Ellis hasn’t missed a beat for Predators

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    For much of this season, people have been wondering how much higher the Nashville Predators’ ceiling might be with a healthy Ryan Ellis. Of course, we’ve seen plenty of instances in which a player comes back, but isn’t quite himself for a while, especially when a knee injury is involved.

    It’s early, yet through six games, it looks like Ryan Ellis is … indeed, Ryan Ellis.

    Last night’s 3-2 shootout win against the Coyotes was maybe the strongest statement so far in that regard, as Ellis scored a goal and an assist, bumping his season totals up to four points in six games.

    In the process, he’s impressed his teammates and coaches, as Brooks Bratten of the team website reports.

    That said, the best is yet to come, if you as head coach Peter Laviolette.

    “He’s catching a moving train,” Laviolette said. “I’m sure he’d tell you he feels good. Every time we talk to him he says he feels good, but I think his game will continue to get better as he plays more and gets more ice time.”

    You can see that Laviolette’s confidence is increasing in Ellis being Ellis by checking his game log. In his first three games back from injury, Ellis received 18:43 or less in time on ice. In the past three games, he’s received at least 21 minutes of ice time, with last night’s 22:33 representing a season high.

    So far, Ellis’ possession stats are where you’d like to see them, another heartening sign that he can help Nashville much like he did before: on both ends of the ice.

    There’s still an element of being eased into the mix, mind you. Through his first six games, Ellis began 61.6 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, a huge bump from last season’s 47.7 percent and his career average of 52.1 (via Hockey Reference).

    It should be fascinating to see how Ellis’ deployment tracks through this season. If Laviolette feels like he needs to be sheltered a bit all throughout 2017-18, it might not be such a bad thing, as P.K. Subban is putting up Norris-worthy all-around numbers, Mattias Ekholm is trusty in his own zone, and Roman Josi might benefit from an offensive-minded deployment himself.

    Few teams enjoy the sort of luxuries the Predators enjoy on defense, at least when Ellis is available.

    Even with their top line of Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, and Filip Forsberg all somewhere between banged-up and actually injured, the Predators are currently on a four-game winning streak and play five of their next six games in Nashville.

    Things are looking up for this Predators team, as they’re in a strong position to take the Central Division, and just seem to get stronger as each month goes along.

    If Ryan Ellis being Ryan Ellis is legit instead of being a mirage, then the rest of the NHL better beware.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Nugent-Hopkins’ injury: blessing in disguise for Oilers

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    In the short term, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins being sidelined for five-to-six weeks with cracked ribs is awful news for the Edmonton Oilers, especially since the initial outlook was more positive.

    Let’s be honest, though: only the most delusional Oilers observers really give them much of hope of salvaging the 2017-18 season. They’re basically in “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” territory by just about every measure.

    So, allow me to be optimistic about the bigger picture while burying the current: RNH’s injury could be a blessing in disguise, at least if the Oilers receive the bat signal about their lost season.

    This would be how it could be beneficial.

    The Oilers probably won’t be able to bungle an RNH trade

    Look, it’s plausible that Nugent-Hopkins could be part of a trade that helps the Oilers at some point. They can’t totally disregard that notion, not when they’ve made some cap mistakes and the solid center carries a $6 million cap hit.

    That said, does anyone trust GM Peter Chiarelli with an RNH trade at this point? (We might need to hide your car keys if you do.)

    It almost feels like every day or so is another slap in the face for Chiarelli, as Mathew Barzal tears it up for the Islanders and Taylor Hall is enjoying an All-Star season for the Devils. RNH being out might just save the Oilers from themselves, especially if Edmonton sees front office changes this summer. Might as well hit the “pause” button on trading actual core pieces after losing that game over and over, right?

    Inflate Ryan Strome?

    OK, this category might give the Oilers too much credit, but maybe they’d consider it.

    It seems like Ryan Strome might be the beneficiary of RNH’s lost opportunities, particularly on the power play. As a pending RFA, there’s concern that this might actually hurt Edmonton.

    What if the Oilers do a “pump and dump” with Strome, instead, driving up his value and then trading him to a contender? If Strome went on a hot streak, maybe a team would want him as a rental considering his cheap $2.5 million cap hit would be even cheaper at the deadline (he’s already down to about $1M according to Cap Friendly).

    Get the memo: you’re a seller

    Maybe RNH’s injury stands as that final push for the Oilers to sell at the trade deadline.

    Chiarelli’s track record of player for player trades is … not great. That said, he’s done OK with smaller deals, buying low on the likes of Cam Talbot.

    The Strome example might be too outside of the box, but moving an affordable, productive player like Patrick Maroon is very conceivable. Mark Letestu is another expiring contract that might bring at least moderate interest from around the NHL.

    ***

    As bad as things are for the Oilers, they don’t necessarily need to panic and blow everything up. If this eliminates the chance of RNH being moved, it might not be such a bad thing, as the franchise might as well get its ducks in a row before they make that decision.

    In the meantime, they can undergo less of a rebuild and more of a spring cleaning.

    With the right moves on the peripheral, they might just be glad that RNH is still around. By not dodging an injury, the Oilers may have just dodged another bullet.

    After all, they keep shooting themselves in the foot.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Kings’ Dustin Brown earns hearing for boarding Justin Schultz (Video)

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    Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings will speak with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Friday following his game misconduct for boarding Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz.

    The hit occurred midway through the third period of the Penguins’ 3-1 win Thursday night. Brown was handed a major for boarding and ejected from the game.

    “I’m going to close on him. He stumbles, toe picks. I don’t drive him into the wall or anything,” Brown said afterward via LA Kings Insider. “Also, closing on the play, at the most it’s probably a two, I think. I mean, who knows because of the protocol and all that, but it’s one of those plays where I’m going to close and he’s in an unfortunate spot.”

    Schultz did not return to the game but head coach Mike Sullivan said he was in the locker room afterward and it seemed like he was going to be fine.

    Brown sees Schultz is on his knees by the boards and it isn’t like the Kings forward’s momentum takes him into the Penguins defender. He gets his hands raised as he cross-checks Schultz into the boards. As Jim Fox said during the broadcast, the DoPS wants players to avoid or minimize contact along the boards. This hit was completely avoidable.

    “I fell, I’m facing the wall and then all of a sudden my face gets driven into the dasher there,” Schultz said via the Post-Gazette. “I don’t know why. There was plenty of time to not do that.”

    The NHL has suspended Brown only once in his career, so he’s not considered a repeat offender here. Still, he’s going to be sitting for at least one game, possibly two, beginning Friday night in Anaheim.

    ————

    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.