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.”

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