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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    Tavares says ‘no rush’ to sign extension with Isles

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    John Tavares keeps saying all the right things about his future with the New York Islanders.

    But that doesn’t change the fact he still doesn’t have a contract extension in place.

    Tavares, who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer, spoke with Newsday yesterday, telling the newspaper he was in “no rush” to sign and that he’s comfortable to just “let the process run its course, keep the lines of communication open, keep it all internal.”

    It’s been reported that the Isles’ uncertain arena situation could be complicating matters. It’s still not clear where the team will call home for the long term.

    On that topic, Tavares chose to avoid making any definitive statements.

    “The possibility with Belmont and that RFP coming out, there’s great potential there,” the 26-year-old said. “We’ll see where it goes. A lot of those things are out of my hands. Some things I don’t try to worry about them too, too much. I’m just a hockey player. I try to be as best prepared as I can be. It’s a big decision obviously because it’s eight years of my career, really entering into my prime years and a great opportunity for myself to achieve what I set out to achieve when I was a kid, making it to the NHL, wanting to win a Stanley Cup and wanting to do that with the Islanders.”

    There’s more in the interview, including his thoughts on the Isles’ offseason moves. Click here to give it a read.

    Tavares also spoke with Newday about the thumb surgery he had in April. All’s well on that front, according to the captain.  

    “I felt I didn’t want this reoccurring and the recovery time was only six weeks,” he said, “so it was the right thing to do once the season ended.”

    Related: Tavares open to signing contract extension this summer

    Under Pressure: Derrick Pouliot (again)

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    This post is part of Penguins Day on PHT…

    For the second straight year, Derrick Pouliot is our pick for the Pittsburgh player under the most pressure heading into the season.

    Perhaps we should just focus on someone else, but the Penguins gave the 23-year-old defenseman a one-year contract extension in July. The eighth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Pouliot knows time is running short to prove Pittsburgh didn’t make a big mistake.

    It should be compelling to watch how he fares.

    “I’ve got to make an impact right away and show that I belong in the NHL,” he said, per the Post-Gazette. “It’s been three years now. I haven’t fully established myself yet. I want to take it one step at a time and build as the year goes on.”

    Pouliot felt he had a strong finish to his AHL season, and perhaps that will help his confidence heading into camp.

    But it’s worth noting that he’s no longer exempt from waivers. So unless he earns a spot, that could mean a change of scenery, with the Penguins either losing him for nothing or trading him for pennies on the dollar.

    Pouliot could feasibly crack the opening roster as Pittsburgh’s eighth defenseman, behind Kris Letang, Justin Schultz, Brian Dumoulin, Olli Maatta, Ian Cole, Chad Ruhwedel and new addition Matt Hunwick.

    He could then languish on that roster until an injury gives him a chance to play.

    The first step, though, is coming into camp and building off the back half of last season.

    “For me to establish myself as an NHL defenseman, a regular guy in the lineup, it’s kind of playing how I ended the season: solid defensively, consistent in that regard,” Pouliot said, per the Tribune-Review. “That’s been one thing that’s always been brought up about me, inconsistency. So I think it’s starting with that and building each game.”

    Looking to make the leap: Zach Aston-Reese

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    This post is part of Penguins Day on PHT…

    With a number of departures from a roster that won back-to-back Stanley Cups, it’s imperative that the Pittsburgh Penguins get a push from some of their prospects in 2017-18.

    One of the top candidates to earn a regular spot is forward Zach Aston-Reese, a 23-year-old who just wrapped up an impressive career at Northeastern University.

    Aston-Reese signed with the Pens in March, hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow undrafted NCAA products Chris Kunitz and Conor Sheary.

    In a twist, Kunitz is one of those departed players that Aston-Reese may help replace.

    “He was a college free agent, too, and kind of a goal scorer his last couple years in college,” Aston-Reese said of Kunitz, per NHL.com. “Just made a career for himself playing with good guys and being able to put the puck in the back of the net.”

    Aston-Reese scored 31 goals in 38 games for the Huskies last season, making him a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

    But despite all the accolades, he knows he’s still just a prospect, with a lot left to learn, and a lot left to prove.

    “Whether we start up top or down in Wilkes-Barre, I think it’s important to be in the same mindset that, you’re trying to get better every day you show up to the rink,” he said, per the Post-Gazette. “If we do get that opportunity, we need to have a good mindset, produce and do what they ask of us.”

    Poll: Who will the Penguins miss the most?

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    This post is part of Penguins Day on PHT…

    After winning back-to-back Stanley Cups, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been forced into making some changes to their roster.

    It’s only normal that championship teams won’t be able to bring all their players back, especially in a salary cap world.

    This offseason, the Penguins lost Marc-Andre Fleury in the expansion draft and Chris Kunitz, Nick Bonino, Trevor Daley, Ron Hainsey, and Matt Cullen in free agency. Each one of those players played an important role in at least one of the two title runs.

    Fleury may not have been between the pipes when the Penguins hoisted the Stanley Cup in each of the last two seasons, but he played a crucial part in each victory. On top of playing 38 games during the regular season, he also compiled a 9-6 record with a 2.56 goals-against-average and a .924 save percentage during the 2017 postseason.

    Without Fleury on the roster, the pressure will fall squarely on Matt Murray‘s shoulders. Murray may own two rings, but he has yet to go through the challenges of an 82-game season plus playoffs. New backup Antti Niemi probably won’t be capable of filling in as well as Fleury did.

    One of the major reasons the Pens were able to go on two championship runs was because of the depth they had accumulated at center. Any team would love to have one of Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, but Pittsburgh is fortunate enough to have both. The Penguins’ depth didn’t stop there. They also had Nick Bonino on their third line and Matt Cullen on their fourth, which is pretty impressive.

    Both Bonino and Cullen will play in the Western Conference next year. Finding competent players to play on the third and fourth line isn’t as difficult as getting top line talent, but those two losses will probably hurt them pretty badly.

    Bonino had 18 goals and 37 points during the 2016-17 regular season and he added a modest seven points in 21 games during the postseason before being ruled out with a lower-body injury. Last year, he put up less points in the regular season (29), but he had an impressive 18 points in 24 games during the playoffs. He was also capable of playing a solid two-way game.

    Cullen, who signed with Minnesota yesterday, also found a way to contribute, despite playing a bottom-six role on such a deep team. The 40-year-old scored 32 and 31 points in his two years with the Penguins and he also added six and nine points during the playoff runs. He also won plenty of key faceoffs and played well without the puck.

    Trevor Daley was unable to finish the 2016 playoffs because of an ankle injury, but he also played a vital role during Pittsburgh’s impressive accomplishment. Daley, who is now with the Red Wings, was able to hold down the fort while Kris Letang was out. He averaged over 20 minutes of ice time during the regular season and 19 more in the spring.

    Ron Hainsey was a smart, underrated trade deadline acquisition by GM Jim Rutherford. The veteran stepped into the lineup and played 21 minutes per night for his new team. He also chipped in with eight points in 25 games. He got himself a nice contract with the Maple Leafs on July 1st.

    Chris Kunitz had been a big contributor for the team, but his production fell off dramatically. After scoring 35 goals during the 2013-14 season, he added 17, 17 and nine during his last three years in Pittsburgh. It became pretty clear that he wasn’t able to play at the same level he had been in previous years, so it wasn’t surprising to see him go elsewhere (Tampa Bay) when free agency opened.

    It’s your turn to vote. Make sure you make a selection in the poll below and feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section.