Throughout the 2019-20 season, NBC Sports Chicago will be unveiling its Blackhawks All-Decade Team. The roster will feature the 14 forwards, 7 defensemen and two goaltenders that made the biggest impact on the franchise from the 2010 through 2019 seasons.
When considering transcendent free agent signings in Chicago Blackhawks history, Marian Hossa is usually the first player to come to mind. But Brian Campbell’s arrival to Chicago’s West Side in the summer of 2008 signaled to the rest of the NHL that the Blackhawks were not only a desirable team to play for, but that their front office meant business in fielding a competitive hockey club.
“It was always Chicago came back into the picture of a place that I could see myself be,” Campbell said in his introductory press conference. “There’s expectations within the locker room and I think it’s going to be like that right from the get-go. It’s not about making the playoffs, it’s about getting the whole prize.”
After prying him away from the San Jose Sharks, Campbell helped lead the Blackhawks to the Western Conference finals in his first year in Chicago, and assisted in grooming young defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook into the dominant top pairing they eventually became. The next season, the Blackhawks snapped a 49-year Stanley Cup drought, with Campbell assisting on the series-clinching goal in Game 6, passing it off to Patrick Kane before he slid the puck under Michael Leighton and sent the Hawks bench into a frenzy.
After three strong seasons with Chicago, the Blackhawks moved him to the Florida Panthers. But he gone for long.
In 2016, Campbell re-signed with the Blackhawks on a one-year contract, taking a “hometown discount” in an attempt at one last hoorah in Chicago. Campbell had a strong season in a smaller role behind Keith, Seabrook, and Niklas Hjalmarsson, but the Blackhawks, the Western Conference’s top seed, fell short in the first round to the surging Nashville Predators.
Campbell spent four seasons in Chicago, totaling 134 points in 295 games with the Blackhawks. In July of 2017, when Campbell hung up the skates for good, he took a job in the franchise’s front office and reiterated one last time how impactful the Blackhawks organization – and the city of Chicago – was to his career.
“Today, we call Chicago home. We’ve embraced the Chicago culture,” said an emotional Campbell during his retirement announcement. “We love this town and we are proud to say our family is a Blackhawks family.”
Campbell played in more games for both the Sabres and Panthers in his 17-year NHL career, but that 2010 Stanley Cup championship made him a Blackhawk for life. He is the third player, and first defenseman, to join the Blackhawks All-Decade Team.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.