Blackhawks' Brian Campbell retires after 17 seasons in NHL: Three takeaways
The 38-year-old defenseman calls it a career after returning to Chicago last season
Less than two weeks after Kevin Klein hung up his skates (only to put them back on in Switzerland's National League), Brian Campbell has announced his retirement from the NHL, ending a 17-year career that began with the Buffalo Sabres but was highlighted by two stints with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Here are three takeaways from the 38-year-old defenseman stepping off the ice:
Chicago lacking experience at blue line
The Blackhawks already parted with Trevor van Riemsdyk and lost both Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya. And while Campbell was left to sit on the free agent market since his one-year deal expired on July 1, his loss still magnifies Chicago's need for some veteran presence on defense.
Campbell noted after the 2016-17 campaign that he'd either return to the Blackhawks or hang it up, so his departure isn't exactly surprising, but it still makes for notable news after a 1,082-game career that included 504 points and a Stanley Cup win between four teams.
Campbell can be considered a Blackhawk for life
It's not often a blue-liner of Campbell's caliber and durability spends such a long time in the NHL before playing for a franchise he truly can call home. He spent nearly eight seasons in Buffalo -- with a brief sting in San Jose -- before landing in Chicago. Even after he was dealt by the Blackhawks to the Florida Panthers for salary cap room, a move that followed up three years' worth of playoff contributions, the D-man kept a house in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune, and took a discount to come back to in 2016-17. Now, as he heads into retirement, he's embracing a marketing spot in the team's front office, according to the NHL.
Chicago's offseason has been all about nostalgia
Talk about a nostalgic summer for the Blackhawks. It's up to you to decide if it's been a good one, too. Before Campbell made his announcement and made his quick transition to the front office, the team made headlines for welcoming back several ex-Blackhawks in free agency and through trades, including former Jonathan Toews line partner Brandon Saad. Only time will tell whether or not Chicago's blast from the past will pay off in a question-filled 2017-18 season.
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