3 Teams Best Situated to Sign Jack Campbell

The Toronto Maple Leafs have yet to negotiate a deal with goaltender Jack Campbell, and rumours are flying that he may go elsewhere if general manager Kyle Dubas does not act soon. If the Leafs don’t sign him, that will leave a massive hole at the goaltending position, with only Petr Mrazek and rookie Erik Kallgren in net, who both had average at best numbers. Campbell didn’t have the most outstanding season either, as he started very hot but quickly got very cold after Christmas. Still, he rebounded in the playoffs, giving the Leafs at least a chance against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Jack Campbell Toronto Maple Leafs
Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

His numbers overall were not terrible, considering in 49 games he was 31-9-6 with a .914 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.64 goals-against average (GAA). His inconsistency over the season was concerning, and he couldn’t steal a game or two in the playoffs to help secure a Leafs’ series victory. On July 13 Campbell will be a free agent (FA), and teams will inquire to see if he is the right fit for their team. The Leafs have yet to act, and it seems like they are okay with him becoming an FA. Here is a look at potential teams that could sign Campbell.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in a postion where they are still quite good with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but they are starting the downward spiral that most top teams make as their stars get older. With Malkin and Kris Letang set to become unrestricted free agents (UFA), the Penguins will have to decide if they want to re-sign them. When it comes to goaltending, the Penguins have Tristen Jarry signed for another season, but Casey DeSmith and Luis Domingue are UFAs this summer, leaving space for Campbell to come in if Pittsburgh still feels they are in the running for long playoff pushes.

Tristan Jarry Pittsburgh Penguins
Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

This would also be an excellent opportunity for Campbell to escape the pressure of a high-profile city, relax, and concentrate on the game, not the outside noise. The pressure to win now could be less, as Pittsburgh needs to figure out if it wants to keep trying to win or start to rebuild for the future. It will be up to Campbell to evaluate which way the Penguins are going and to determine if he wants to be with a team in a transitionary period.

Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers reached the Western Conference Final with mediocre goaltending. Mike Smith, still signed for another year with the Oilers, was hit or miss at best for Edmonton, and if it weren’t for star players Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the Oilers wouldn’t have gotten as far as they did. The backup goalie Mikko Koskinen, who would have been a UFA at the end of this season, has already signed a two-year deal in Switzerland with HC Lugano.

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The Oilers have proved they’re close to the Stanley Cup Final. The one thing standing in their way is goaltending. Smith is 40 years old, and long past his better days. Stuart Skinner is still learning the pro game in the American Hockey League (AHL), and won’t be ready to take over as top goaltender. If Edmonton could sign a player like Campbell, then they could be able to solve their goaltending situation. Although Campbell has not won a series in the playoffs, he would still be an upgrade to Smith and a good placeholder until Skinner is ready for the NHL. Signing Campbell to a three-or-five-year contract will give the Oilers a little more security in nets and allow the proper time for a young goalie in their system to develop. With Smith also there next season, they could play the goalies in a 1A – 1B type situation, lessen the workload and stress on Campbell, and allow the Oilers to be a better team.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks are in a weird situation. They are not entirely rebuilding yet, but are in a position where they are starting to let the younger players take control of the team. They started the season with Marc-Andre Fleury as their goaltender and Kevin Lankinen and Collin Delia were the tandem after Fluery was traded to the Minnesota Wild. This summer, Lankinen and Delia will be UFAs and could go to market and get signed elsewhere. This situation could leave Chicago looking for a goaltender.

Kevin Lankinen Chicago Blackhawks
Kevin Lankinen, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With Chicago in an in-between stage, they could sign Campbell to solidify their goaltending, and he can provide them solid goaltending whether they decide to rebuild or patch together a team they think they can win with. With Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews’s contracts both over after next season, a big decision has to be made by Blackhawks management on what they want to do next with the team. Having Campbell as their starter will allow them to concentrate on other areas of the team that need to be improved and not worry whether or not Lankinen or Delia will be a bonafide starter.

The door is still not shut on Campbell staying with the Leafs, but as the clock ticks closer to the free agency window, it looks more and more likely that he could go elsewhere and leave Toronto in a tough pickle when it comes to goaltending.

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