The dismantling of the disappointing Ottawa Senators took another step when defenseman Chris Campoli was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Ryan Potulny and a second-round pick in this year’s draft.
The deal was completed Monday shortly before the NHL trade deadline.
”I’m extremely excited to join their team,” Campoli said on a conference call. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said the Canadian needed his U.S. work visa and was expected to join the team after Monday’s game at Minnesota.
”I think there are so many positives in the situation for me,” Campoli said. ”I’m a puck-moving, up-ice-often defenseman. Skating’s a big part of my game, and I know from playing against Chicago, they’re a team that’s a puck-possession, aggressive, up-tempo style team, and I really think there’s a fit there so I’m pretty excited about the whole thing right now.”
Campoli has three goals and 11 assists this season, and 32 goals and 96 assists in 378 NHL games with Ottawa and the New York Islanders.
He is the sixth regular player in the Senators lineup to be traded in the past three weeks. Alex Kovalev, Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, Jarkko Ruutu and Brian Elliott were also dealt by Ottawa, the last-place team in the Eastern Conference.
”I think the good news for Chris is that he’s coming into a situation here where he’s not going to be required to carry the load,” Bowman said. ”We’ve got a lot of guys that can play good minutes, so he needs to complement them, and I think in some ways, he’s going to alleviate their load. I think his skill set and his experience is going to be a nice addition to our club. I think it’s a definite upgrade.”
Campoli joins a team that has been inconsistent all season and is struggling to make the playoffs after winning the Stanley Cup last season.
”I know this,” Campoli said. ”I know they’re a great team. They’re right in the thick of things in the West. What I like about the situation is they’re an upbeat, up-tempo, high-energy (team). They’re for the most part a young group. The core of the team is a young group. I’m really excited to be a part of that.”
The deal comes on the same day that the Blackhawks announced defenseman Jordan Hendry will undergo surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
He was injured in Sunday’s win over Phoenix, and when that happened, Campoli thought he might wind up in Chicago.
”I expect myself to come in and help the team,” he said. ”That’s my goal, right away.”
The Blackhawks also received a conditional seventh-round draft pick in the trade.
Potulny didn’t record a point in three NHL games this season. He had 18 goals and 23 assists in 58 games with Rockford of the AHL.
The Senators did keep one key player.
Defenseman Chris Phillips, who has played all 925 of his NHL games with the Senators agreed to a $9.25 million, three-year contract extension.
Phillips chose not to explore free agency on July 1.
”There’s no question that I gave up something,” he said. ”But what that is we’ll never know because I didn’t go to July 1 and test that market. It’s not a concern.”
”Phillips has been around here for a long time, he’s a great leader in the room and a guy that a lot of guys lean on so we’re happy to see him stay,” Senators forward Jason Spezza said.
”I think it’s been trade deadline day for a few weeks for us now so not much has changed.”