Blackhawks

Blackhawks acquire defenseman Campoli

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Blackhawks acquire defenseman Campoli

Monday, Feb. 28, 2011
Posted 1:05 p.m. Updated 7:34 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

St. Paul, Minn - Chris Campoli knew he could possibly be going elsewhere.

The 26-year-old defenseman was on an Ottawa Senators team that had big expectations at the start of the season but is now mired near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. Changes were coming there, and Campoli sensed he was going to be part of them.

READ: Blackhawks losers at deadline?

For the Chicago Blackhawks, the mobile, puck-moving defenseman was the right guy for their needs.

The Blackhawks acquired Campoli and a conditional seventh-round pick from the Senators in exchange for Ryan Potulny and a conditional second-round selection on Monday afternoon. For Campoli, who spent the past three seasons with the Senators, its a chance to play with a team on the edge of making the postseason.

Going forward for me, its an opportunity that I could get a fresh start and really take advantage of a new beginning with a franchise going in a great direction, he said. Theyve had success in the past, they have high expectations and it will be a challenge for me to contribute to that. Im looking forward to that opportunity.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was not sure when Campoli would join his new team, as there are visa issues that need to be completed.

Hopefully were getting that done in short order. In some ways its out of our hands. Were doing all we can to expedite things, Bowman said. Hes certainly ready to go, hes healthy. Once we get paperwork done hell be with the team.

Campoli has three goals and 11 assists for the Senators this season. He will be a restricted free agent next season and made 1.4 million this season. He played more than 18 minutes per game with Ottawa.

The good news for him is he can come here and hes not going to be required to carry the load, Bowman said. We have a lot of guys who can play good minutes, so he needs to compliment them.

Bowman added theyve been looking at Campoli for a while now.

We wanted to find a defenseman that fits the style of play that we play and he certainly fits that category, he said. Hes been in a situation where hes been put in even-strength or special-teams (situations), he can move the puck, he has good mobility and he compliments the group of defensemen we have. His style of play is similar to the way we want to play.

Campoli could also help the Blackhawks penalty kill. He played more than 98 minutes this season on the Senators kill and was also third on Ottawas team with 70 blocked shots. For Campoli, whatever the Blackhawks need hell try and give them.

Im capable of penalty killing, I had more of an opportunity (on it) this year in Ottawa than in the past, he said. Stan saw me as a defenseman who could contribute in all situations. I know he expects me to come in and help. Depending on the system in Chicago and way coaches want to do things, Ill adjust my game accordingly.

The Blackhawks desire to acquire a defenseman turned into more of a need after Sunday night, when Jordan Hendry suffered a torn ACL in his left knee against the Phoenix Coyotes. Hendry is out for the season and will have surgery on the injury, which will take six months for full recovery according to Blackhawks team physician Dr. Michael Terry.

Weve been focused on getting a defenseman, but that certainly didnt decrease our interest. If nothing else, increased it, Bowman said. Those things do happen and thats why you lay the groundwork ahead of time. Part of that research led us to be able to close the deal that we did.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks mailbag: Goaltending situation and how draft could affect free agency

Blackhawks mailbag: Goaltending situation and how draft could affect free agency

Every Friday this offseason, Charlie Roumeliotis will look to answer your Blackhawks and hockey-related questions. Be sure to chime in using the hashtag #HawksMailbag on Twitter for a chance to have your question answered in the next edition.  

When are the Blackhawks going to announce their recent signings?

This question came on Wednesday and the Blackhawks officially announced the signing of 26-year-old Swedish forward Anton Wedin on Thursday. Wedin, who's a 5-foot-11, 194-pound winger, had a breakout season in the Swedish Hockey League and is expected to battle for a full-time roster spot for the Blackhawks in 2019-20.

The other one to watch for is Dominik Kubalik. He has reportedly agreed to an entry-level contract with the Blackhawks, but word is it won't be made official until the 2019 IIHF World Championship ends. He's currently representing the Czech Republic, which advanced to the semifinals on Thursday. Kubalik's rights were acquired by the Blackhawks from Los Angeles in January for a 2019 fifth-round pick.

Does Crawford get extended during the summer?

Corey Crawford has one year left on his six-year contract that carries a $6 million cap hit. The expectation is that he will be re-signed — and he should be. When that comes remains to be seen.

Given his health situation, the Blackhawks may prefer to see how the 2019-20 campaign plays out before diving into contract negotiations with their two-time Stanley Cup-winning goalie. Or they could try ironing one out starting on July 1 so that it doesn't hang over his head all season long. 

Crawford will be 35 in December, but that should not be the primary concern. It's whether or not the Blackhawks can count on his availability. When healthy, he's still one of the best in the game and the importance of the goaltending position is at an all-time high. Term will be the thing to watch for when it comes to Crawford's next contract.

Outside of the number 3 pick, what players or positions should the Hawks target in the draft?

The Blackhawks' philosophy is to take the best available player, especially in the first round of the NHL Draft. In 2018, the hope for the organization was that they would come away with a forward and defenseman in Round 1 but instead landed two defensemen (Adam Boqvist at No. 8 and Nicolas Beaudin at No. 27). Same with 2017 when they ended up Henri Jokiharju (No. 29) and Ian Mitchell (second round, No. 57 overall).

The later rounds (4-7) are where that thinking gets trickier because there isn't as much separation between the best available players. At that point — if it's close — positional need might be the deciding factor. 

Given the surplus of high-end defensemen in the pipeline, it's easy to say the Blackhawks should focus more on forward depth and the goaltending position. And that's probably true. But you still want to take the player with the highest ceiling because there's value in developing players the right way and making them attractive trade pieces down the line if there's no room for them on the Blackhawks roster. 

Favorite UFA targets? How do those affect your draft, if at all?

This is an interesting question, and the cliché answer is that it shouldn't impact the draft at all. In fact, the draft may have more impact on what the Blackhawks do in free agency more than vice versa.

The top of the draft is loaded with centers (Dylan Cozens, Kirby Dach, Jack Hughes, Peyton Krebs, Alex Turcotte, Trevor Zegras). The other name generating buzz is Bowen Byram, who's a defenseman. If the Blackhawks pick one of those centers at No. 3 overall, which is very possible, they'll be adding that player — whether he's NHL ready next season or not — to a center group that already includes Artem Anisimov, David Kampf, Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome. 

Toews is going to retire a Blackhawk. Strome is likely going to earn a long-term contract as well. And Kampf appears to be the perfect fourth-line center. Which leaves one center spot left. 

The odd man out may be Anisimov, but even so, there might be less of an inclination to sign a center to a long-term deal this summer if they draft a center at No. 3 because they will have filled that long-term need through the draft. If it's still an area they'd like to address in the short-term, then that could change the Blackhawks' way of thinking going into July 1.

Is Collin Delia the best option behind Crawford or are there other goalies in the system who are ready?

The Blackhawks are very much invested in Delia as Crawford's backup for the 2019-20 season. GM Stan Bowman said as much during exit interviews.

"I think Delia has taken a nice step as a pro this second year," Bowman said. "He didn't play a lot of NHL games, but certainly early on when he was playing a lot, he was really, really good. The hardest part for someone like Collin is trying to adjust to the NHL to not playing every night. I think when he came up and played in a few consecutive games, he was really good. And once we started rotation a bit, that's an adjustment for a young goalie. He wasn't sharp. But now he goes back to Rockford and I think he's the No. 1 or No. 2 in the American League in all his statistics. So he's doing all he can do to show that he's ready. That's nice knowing we have him signed for a couple of years and his best years are ahead of him." 

Kevin Lankinen is somebody that's quietly emerging as an intriguing prospect for the Blackhawks. He was put in tough spot this past season, starting with the Indy Fuel of the ECHL then rotating in and out with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL, where he had a 2.50 goals against average and .910 save percentage in 19 appearances. 

At the 2019 IIHF World Championship, he's been a big bright spot for Finland. He has a 1.83 GAA and .916 save percentage in six games. The Blackhawks want to see him handle No. 1 responsibilities in Rockford before putting him into the conversation as a potential NHL backup.

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Blackhawks fill assistant coach vacancy with hiring of Tomas Mitell

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Blackhawks fill assistant coach vacancy with hiring of Tomas Mitell

One month after "mutually" agreeing to part ways with assistant coach Don Granato, the Blackhawks have hired 38-year-old Tomas Mitell as his replacement on Jeremy Colliton's staff. 

Mitell spent the past two seasons as head coach of AIK Hockey (Allsvenskan) in Sweden, where he guided the team to an overall record of 64-27-13. He led AIK to a league-best 35-8-9 record during the 2018-19 campaign, with their 35 wins and 109 points each setting franchise records.

Perhaps more notably: Mitell served as an assistant coach under Colliton with Mora IK (Allsvenskan) during the 2016-17 season, so there's obvious familiarity between the two. 

Mitell rounds out Colliton's staff that also includes assistant coach Sheldon Brookbank and veteran goaltending coach Jimmy Waite. It's a young group behind the Chicago bench, with Colliton (34), Brookbank (38) and Mitell (38) each having little NHL coaching experience but offer a new-school way of thinking.

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