Blackhawks acquire defenseman Campoli

Blackhawks acquire defenseman Campoli
February 28, 2011, 6:59 pm
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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.

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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.