Author: Jason Brough

Dallas Stars training camp

Campbell credits ECHL stint for turning his game around

When Jack Campbell was sent from the AHL to the ECHL in February, it wasn’t a particularly promising sign for a young goalie who was once so highly touted.

At the time, Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill explained the move like this: “He’s going there to play games, and that’s exactly what he needs right now, so it’s a positive thing.”

But let’s face it, the ECHL was not where the Stars had forecast Campbell to be playing almost five years after they made him the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft.

To Campbell’s credit, he made the best of his short stint with the Idaho Steelheads, and now he’s feeling a lot better about his game.

From the Stars’ website:

Campbell played seven games in 13 days with Idaho, posting a 5-2-0 record, 1.73 goals-against average and .945 save percentage.

“Just playing, getting away from everybody a little bit,” said Scott White, Dallas Stars Director of Hockey Operations and Texas Stars GM. “He just played. He played a lot of hockey in a short period of time. I think he had fun.”

“I think it was just knowing I was the guy down there,” Campbell said. “I played seven in a row, which was nice. The boys had a lot of confidence in me and the coaches. I relaxed down there and came back with the same attitude and everything kind of took care of itself.”

The dividends continued to roll in when Campbell returned to the AHL. He went 0-1-1 in his first two starts, but then went 11-3-0 with a 2.45 goals-against average and .924 save percentage to finish the season.

Clearly, the Stars haven’t given up on Campbell. They re-signed the 23-year-old in June.

“Jack winning 11 out of his last 14 games last season was huge in solidifying another postseason appearance for Texas,” Nill said. “We fully expect him to build off of that success and continue his growth.”

It’s hard to say what the future holds for Campbell, but with Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi signed for the next three years, there aren’t currently any openings on the big club’s roster.

Campbell knows he has to be patient.

“My goal is to be a starting goalie in the National Hockey League for the Dallas Stars,” he said. “That’s my main goal, but that’s a process. I have to show that I can be a starting goalie for the Texas Stars.”

Zubrus on unconditional waivers for purpose of terminating his contract

New York Rangers v New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils are parting ways with Dainius Zubrus.

The club made the announcement today, saying that the 37-year-old forward had been placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.

Zubrus was set to make $3.1 million in 2015-16, after which he would become an unrestricted free agent. He had just four goals and six assists in 74 games last season.

The Devils did not say they were buying out Zubrus, only that his contract was being terminated. New Jersey would not have received cap relief anyway if it was a buyout, as Zubrus’ contract was of the 35-plus variety. The team would have saved around a million bucks in actual salary, however.

It’s possible there was a mutual agreement to terminate Zubrus’ contract, a la Damien Brunner in 2014.

Update: It’s a buyout:

The Devils were afforded an additional buyout window as they had two arbitration cases this offseason.

JayBo admits groin injury meant he ‘couldn’t do some of the things that I was used to doing’

St. Louis Blues v Minnesota Wild - Game Six

Jay Bouwmeester is hoping that the groin injury that cost him his “Ironman” streak won’t be a recurring thing.

Because not only did the injury, suffered in November, mean Bouwmeester’s streak of 737 straight games was over, it kind of messed up the rest of his season with the Blues.

“I’m a guy that relies on my skating, so yeah, that’s a big part of my game,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It was a whole combination of things, but the bottom line is, I couldn’t do some of the things that I was used to doing. When you’re used to playing a certain way, things come naturally, and when you have to compensate a bit, it can throw some things off. It’s not a good position to be in.”

The 31-year-old defenseman finished with just 13 points in 72 games. He then went pointless in six playoff games, while averaging just 20:28 of ice time.

“So hopefully it’s nothing that keeps coming back,” he said. “I have no reason to think that I won’t be ready for camp or won’t be feeling good.”

Talbot knows he has a ‘great opportunity’ in Edmonton

Cam Talbot

Not that anyone expects the Edmonton Oilers to win the Stanley Cup next season. But at the very least, with Connor McDavid, a new coach in Todd McLellan, and a few other tweaks, there’s pressure for them to be much better.

Cam Talbot will shoulder much of that pressure. The 28-year-old goalie that the Oilers got in a trade with the Rangers is expected to battle Ben Scrivens for the starting job next season. Another goalie, Anders Nilsson, is in the mix, too.

“It’s definitely an exciting time for this organization to get a generational player like everyone’s been saying like Connor,” Talbot said, per

“It’s going to be a great opportunity for me here, to be able to come in and work with a good young group of guys and obviously a group that’s headed in the right direction.”

Goaltending was once again a major issue for Edmonton last season, despite the club’s best efforts to fix the problem with Scrivens and Viktor Fasth.

And let’s not forget that Talbot has only started 53 NHL games in his entire career. Though his numbers are impressive in that small sample (.931 save percentage), it’s like Craig MacTavish once said, “I think anyone who tells you they’re sure about the performance of their goaltenders based on a relatively small sample size, is not likely accurate.”

In Talbot’s favor, he’s been able to watch one of the best in the game go about his business.

“Getting to play behind a guy like [Henrik Lundqvist], you learn a lot and you get to see what it takes to be a No. 1 [goalie] in this league,” he said.

Report: Bernier and Leafs more than $2 million apart ahead of Friday’s arbitration hearing

Jonathan Bernier

Jonathan Bernier wants $5.1 million. The Toronto Maple Leafs are thinking more like $2.89 million.

That’s how the two sides are going into Friday’s arbitration hearing, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Bernier isn’t coming off a great season. The 26-year-old went 21-28-7 with a .912 save percentage, as goaltending proved to be one of the many issues for the Leafs. But that followed a very good 2013-14 campaign, when he went 26-19-7 with a .923 save percentage.

The cap hit on his expired contract, a two-year deal, was $2.9 million. His salary last season was $3.4 million.

Oh, and there’s also this to consider: