It was news to me that Blackhawks defensemen Chris Campoli was playing with a torn meniscus that required a surgery today.
The recovery time for such a procedure was stated as being two months.
Campoli was the last Blackhawk to touch a puck in the 2010-2011 season, as he was the man who turned the puck over to Alexander Burrows, leading to the overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7.
Much of the frustration of that loss was pointed at Campoli, whose turnovers were glaring throughout the series. Had it been known that he was playing on one wheel, opinions may have been changed about his play and the projection whether he will return to Chicago next season.
He is a fine third- and second-line defensemen on occasion, but overall his performance was shaky—at best—after being acquired midseason from the Ottawa Senators. He scored four goals and contributed 17 assists this season, but only provided one assist in the playoffs.
The exact moment this knee issue arose is a mystery at this point, but it is clear that he was somewhat struggling in the series against Vancouver. His production all season was more than Niklas Hjalmarsson and Nick Boynton's in the Stanley Cup winning season, and he has shown to be fairly consistent in his career.
With five defensemen on the active roster locked up next season—including John Scott—it might be best for the Blackhawks to bring Campoli back, as he is a restricted free agent.
Many fans have come to accept that Campoli will—and should—return without hesitation. I do not have that gung-ho attitude.
Here is my priority list of the restricted free agents:
- Corey Crawford
- Michael Frolik
- Troy Brouwer
- Chris Campoli
- Jake Dowell
- Viktor Stalberg
Obviously, Crawford is the key, and something certainly will be done rather soon. Because of my estimated potential for extended stay, Campoli is not that high on my list. Michael Frolik showed quite clearly what he was capable of and Troy Brouwer remains an extremely skilled player that had a bad year.
Depending on what the other teams do and the market dictates, this could be a deep pool of defensemen about to hit the open market.
The Blackhawks should look at their options and make sure that there are not any lingering effects from Campoli's injury that was hidden to so many of us.