Every Tuesday at PHT, we’ll pump a player’s tire. Because every player likes it when nice things are said about them.
This week’s tire pumpee: Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers
With seven assists in his first four games, Campbell is actually earning his fat contract. You know the contract. The one everyone in Chicago was happy to be rid of when the puck-moving defenseman was traded from the Blackhawks at the draft.
Of course, the Panthers have no cap crunch to speak of. Campbell could have a hit of $15 million and they’d still be under the limit.
In Florida’s 7-4 win over the Lighting Monday night, Campbell tallied four assists, each of them on the power play. (The Panthers scored five times with the man advantage. Maybe stop taking so many penalties, Tampa Bay.)
“It’s just one of those nights, I guess. Things are going good,” Campbell said. “That’s not going to happen too often, so you’ll take it when you get it.”
Campbell, 32, leads all Panthers in ice time, averaging 27:50 per game. Across the NHL, only Dan Girardi (29:31) and Ryan Suter (28:07) have played more per game than that.
Heading into tonight’s game in Washington, Florida (3-1-0) sits second in the Southeast division, two points behind the Capitals (4-0-0). A surprise to many, but not to Campbell. Prior to the start of the season, he told NHL.com he had high hopes for the Panthers.
“I feel like we’re going to have success a lot quicker than people think,” he said. “For us, as long as we think that in the locker room and know that it’s playoffs or everything else is a failure and not acceptable, it’s a good place to start. I think that’s the mindset that we all need to have going into the season.”
Brian Campbell, everyone.