Monday, September 26, 2011

Canadiens sign D Chris Campoli to 1 year Deal

The Montreal Canadiens announced today that the club has signed defenseman Chris Campoli to a 1-year, $1.75M contract.

With all the injuries the team has suffered this month, Campoli reinforces the group of d-men. However, it definitely raises some suspicion.

What does this mean about Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban's health? We speculated this morning that the silence around P.K.'s condition could only be a bad omen. However, both Jacques Martin and Pierre Gauthier spoke out, denying this was a reactionary move to anyone's health. Subban skated this morning with David Desharnais, which is a positive sign, and Gauthier repeated that IF Markov is to miss games, it won't be many.

In this case, what does this mean about Yannick Weber's future in Montreal? The young defenseman has had a disappointing training camp to say the least. The Habs have 8 NHL d-men on the roster now in Markov, Subban, Campoli, Weber, Alexei Yemelin, Josh Gorges, Hal Gill, and Jaroslav Spacek.

As for Campoli, if Habs fans don't expect too much, they may be pleasantly surprised. Once seen as a promising young player for the New York Islanders, his career took a downturn in Ottawa and then in Chicago, but he's still only 27 years of age - well in his prime for a defenseman.

Campoli is a mobile two-way player who scored 21 points in 67 games last season. He is a fine third pairing guy who can play 2nd unit powerplay minutes. He does have a bit of a bad reputation for turnovers, including the one that led to the overtime winner in round 1 of last year's playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks.

Just last season, his trade value was considered a 2nd round pick, so it's not like he should be considered "washed up." He adds more depth on the blueline, saving Gauthier from having to give up picks of his own to replace injured d-men during the course of the season. I had avocated during the summer for the signing of Scott Hannan, which I would have preferred, but as a depth d-man, this is not a bad move. We had Campoli at #6 on our list of remaining UFA in August.

The dollar amount feels like a lot given that we're just 2 weeks away from the season openers, and Campoli remained without a contract. It is a raise on the $1.4M he made last year, but in his defense, it is less than the $2.5M an arbitrator awarded him this summer (an amount that the Chicago Blackhawks walked away from).

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