Blackhawks trade Brian Campbell, Troy Brouwer on busy draft day
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org June 24, 2011 11:22PM
The Blackhawks traded defenseman Brian Campbell to the Florida Panthers during Friday’s draft. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Mark McNeill (No. 18)
Team: Prince Albert (WHL)
Key stats: McNeill led the team in assists (49) and finished second in points (81) last season.
Quote: “I’m very excited. I can’t even describe it right now. It’s an unreal feeling. I’m going into camp this year, and I’m going to try to make the team.”
Phillip Danault (No. 26)
Position: Left wing
Team: Victoriaville (QMJHL)
Key stats: Danault had 67 points in 64 games last season, with his 44 assists and four short-handed goals tying for the team lead.
Quote: “I’ve got leadership and character, and I will try to do the same if I play some day with the Blackhawks. To be drafted is one thing, but the second thing is to make the team. I will never stop working.”
Updated: September 29, 2011 12:44AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Another year, another draft and another day full of trade talk involving key Blackhawks players. And, ultimately, more players gone from their Stanley Cup-winning team.
Physical winger Troy Brouwer went first Friday. He was traded to the Washington Capitals for the 26th pick in the draft.
Puck-moving defenseman Brian Campbell was next. He was asked to waive the limited no-trade clause in his lucrative contract to allow a deal to the Florida Panthers for winger Rostislav Olesz.
It was mixed emotions for both. As Brouwer said in a phone interview, he now knows exactly what ex-teammates Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Adam Burish and others experienced when they were dealt last summer because of the salary cap.
“I’m a little surprised but very happy about it, just moving to a new team, a team like Washington, where I’m going to have the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup again,” Brouwer said. “The opportunity to play with the top players like they have, I think it should be a great opportunity for me, but I am sad to leave Chicago. Chicago has given me the opportunity to come into the NHL and make a name for myself.”
The Hawks drafted forward Phillip Danault from the Victoriaville Tigres of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the pick they acquired for Brouwer. With their first pick, No. 18, the Hawks took forward Mark McNeill from the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League.
But the first day of the 2011 draft will be remembered as the day Brouwer and Campbell departed.
Brouwer led the Hawks in hits last season, and with his ability to play on all four lines, he had significant trade value. He’s a restricted free agent and due a raise from his current $1.025 million cap hit. Brouwer, who underwent shoulder surgery this summer, said he didn’t “have too many talks with Chicago” regarding his contract.
“There always comes a time when you need to open up spots for younger players,” Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said, referring to players such as Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin and Kyle Beach. “[The moves] give us the option to do different things, whether it’s through the trade market or through free agency.”
Some Hawks already have reached out to Brouwer.
“They’re very happy for me, but they don’t want to see me go because you create these bonds with the players and the people that you play with,” Brouwer said. “But it is a business.”
What happened with Campbell has a lot to do with business. Panthers GM Dale Tallon signed Campbell to his eight-year, $56.8 million deal on July 1, 2008, when he was in charge of the Hawks.
“Whatever market value is at that time, it was an important signing for the franchise,” Tallon said. “It told everybody in Chicago and in the league that the Blackhawks are making a commitment to win. That’s what that statement was.”
Olesz, a former first-round pick who had six goals in 44 games last season, has a contract through 2013-14 with a $3.125 million cap hit. Although Campbell was a valuable part of the Hawks’ puck-possession game, he had been on the trading block for a couple years because of his salary. With the cap ceiling rising to $64.3 million and the cap floor to $48.3 million, it led to more options.
“[Campbell] can play 28 minutes a game,” Tallon said. “He can skate like the wind, and skate all night long. It’s a dimension a lot of teams don’t have.”