Brian Campbell really wanted to return to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Signed as an unrestricted free agent on Friday, Campbell’s deal is reported to be one year with a total value of $2.25 million for a 37-year-old puck-moving defenseman coming off a 31-point season with the upstart Florida Panthers.
Based on a report from the Sun Sentinel, Campbell turned down quite a bit of money from the Panthers in order to sign with Chicago, where he won a Stanley Cup six years ago. The Blackhawks are still close to the cap ceiling, with about $3.14 million in space.
“I had other opportunities,” said Campbell, as per the Chicago Tribune.
“I wanted to be at a number I was comfortable with. I told people I would take a discount to come here. But Stan (on Friday) was great at getting me to a number (we both) felt comfortable with. It was something I had to … be comfortable with coming to the rink every day and I’m truly ready to go and compete my hardest for the Blackhawks.”
After signing an entry-level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks in May, prospect defenseman Gustav Forsling could still return to Sweden for next season, according to a report on Sunday.
From Scott Powers of The Athletic:
Forsling, a defenseman prospect, will likely return to Sweden to play next season if he doesn’t make the NHL team out of training camp, his agent Gerry Johannson said Saturday. Johannson said the Blackhawks have to offer Forsling back to his SHL team Linkoping if Forsling isn’t on the NHL team to begin the 2016-17 season.
On paper, it’s also unlikely the 20-year-old Forsling makes the Blackhawks to begin the upcoming season. They appear to be set with seven defensemen after recently signing Brian Campbell and Michal Rozsival to go along with Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brent Seabrook, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Michal Kempny.
Originally selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Draft, Forsling was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Adam Clendening.
Clendening was later traded to Pittsburgh, as part of a deal between the Canucks and Penguins involving Nick Bonino and Brandon Sutter.
Last season with Linkopings in Sweden, Forsling had six goals and 21 points in 48 games.
The Winnipeg Jets took Patrik Laine with the second overall pick in last month’s NHL Draft, and now they’ve locked up the talented scoring forward to an entry-level contract.
The Jets made the announcement Sunday.
The Jets began their development camp the same day, however Laine is not participating in on-ice activities as he recovers from what the club called minor knee surgery following the scouting combine.
“I couldn’t finish [the tests] because I had some problem with my leg, but I think it went pretty normal otherwise,” said Laine during the combine. “I’m OK. I didn’t finish the test because I just don’t want to get hurt; I have an important summer and I don’t want to miss that.”
Related: Laine expects to be the next Ovechkin in five years
The Florida Panthers remain busy this off-season.
Updated: The Panthers announced Sunday that they have signed forward Reilly Smith to a five-year contract extension.
Smith had 25 goals and 50 points in 82 regular season games, before four goals and eight points in the opening round of the post-season before Florida was eliminated. Smith, 25, was at the end of a two-year, $6.85 million deal, so this new deal comes with a substantial raise, plus term.
“Reilly was a key player for our team last season,” said Panthers GM Tom Rowe in a statement. “He is a valuable contributor to our offense and special teams and is an important part of our talented group of forwards.”
Yesterday, the Panthers signed free agent defenseman Jason Demers (read about it here and here) and re-signed forward Vincent Trocheck to a six-year contract (read about it here), which was officially announced Sunday.
It’s been a long time coming for Conner Bleackley.
He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, but never signed. His rights were eventually traded to the Arizona Coyotes, but again he wasn’t offered a contract and ended up re-entering this year’s draft.
Talk about a difficult start his Bleackley’s pro career, as outlined by ProHockeyTalk last month:
Upon getting drafted, Bleackley’s Red Deer coach, Brent Sutter, said the kid wasn’t ready for NHL hockey. Bleackley then arrived at his first Avs camp out of shape, and was sent packing early. Colorado balked on signing him, and shipped him to Arizona.
Bleackley learned of the trade while recovering from a broken kneecap.
Two weeks after returning, he suffered the aforementioned wrist tendon laceration.
In the fifth round, 144th overall, the Blues finally took Bleackley, the WHL center for the Red Deer Rebels.
On Saturday, the 20-year-old Bleackley was one of nine players signed by the Blues, as he inked an entry-level contract.
Related: Avs’ first-rounder Bleackley says lack of contract is ‘in the back of my mind a lot’