Brian Campbell to San Jose Sharks in “Life Changing” Deal

Cecile NguyenCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2008

The San Jose Sharks acquired defenseman Brian Campbell and a seventh-round draft pick from the Buffalo Sabres for forward Steve Bernier and a first-round draft pick just hours before the trade deadline. 

“I have a lot of good friends (in Buffalo),” Campbell said. “I knew something would happen, but it hit close to home. (The trade is) sad but I’m a little excited. It didn’t really surprise me. It’s been a lot of fun, lots of memories. It’s life changing.”

Campbell will join former Sabres Curtis Brown and Mike Grier on the Sharks’ roster. 

It seems the Sabres organization finally learned from their mistakes last season when they failed to sign either of their co-captains Chris Drury, who bolted to the New York Rangers, or Daniel Briere, who joined his friend Martin Biron in Philadelphia. Both signed lucrative long-term deals.

Both players were open to negotiate with Buffalo before and during the 2006-07 season, but the organization decided to stick with their stupid policy of not talking contract extension during the season. As a result, no deals were made and both players left.

It must have been a bitter sight for Sabres fans who watched yesterday’s match between Briere’s old team and his new one. The forward netted the game-winner during the shootout and helped snapped the Flyers’ colossal 10-game losing streak. 

Getting back to Campbell, the All-Star will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, and without much progressive talks going on with the team about a possible contract extension, the 28-year-old told the Sabres back in January that he would not negotiate with the team for the remainder of the season.

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Campbell rejected the same weak three-year deal the team offered to Briere and Drury.

“I wanted a long-term,” Campbell said. “I can’t sign a three-year deal, you saw someone almost lose his life here, and sometimes you have to look out for number one.”

The Sabres were right to be afraid that their prized defenseman would be walking away for nothing at season’s end. They chose to trade him and at least get something in return.

“We’re at two different stages and couldn’t come together,” Campbell said during his phone call with TSN Tradecentre.

This was the right move for Buffalo. Not only was there no guarantee that a deal would get down with Campbell, but they are also spared an embarrassing repeat of last offseason’s debacle.

San Jose also was able to address what they needed—a steady, puck-moving, productive defenseman—to compliment their young defensive core as the team gears up for the playoff stretch.

In 63 games this season, Campbell has five goals to go along with 38 assist for a total of 43 points. He has 21 points on the power play and is very disciplined on the ice with only 12 penalty minutes all season  He could work on his plus/minus; right now he’s a -1.

“My role (with the Sharks) is a lot of the same—skate, be a puck-moving defenseman, and get puck to forward,” Campbell said.