BUFFALO, NY— Two moves made during the second day of the NHL Draft has some impact on the minor league landscape. The first move was Anthony DeAngelo going from the Tampa Bay organization to Arizona in exchanges for draft picks. While the bigger move could be the Los Angeles Kings picking up goalie Jack Campbell from the Dallas Stars for Nick Ebert.
The much maligned Campbell has had some troubles in his minor pro career. This past season, Campbell was lights out with the Idaho Steelheads with a 14-5-1 record, which included a 1.68 GAA and .944 save percentage. Yet, the trouble with Campbell happened when he was promoted to Texas of the AHL. Campbell went 7-7-5 with a 3.65 GAA and .884 save percentage. It was the second straight season Campbell had a .500 record in the AHL (14-14-5 in 2014-15) after an impressive 2013-14 campaign where he had 12 wins and two defeats in 16 appearances.
Speaking with Jon Rosen of LAKingsInsider.com, he said the move was primarily due to depth. “Unfortunately, due to the severe injury to Alec Dillon and the situation with Patrik Bartosak, this was a move that needed to be made,” explained Rosen to TheSinBin.net.
In speaking with Mark Stepneski of the Dallas Stars official site, Stars GM Jim Nill said of Campbell, “He’s a great young man, a great young goalie. Sometimes a change of pace is the best thing. I had talks with Jack after this season we agreed that it was best to move on.”
In return, Ebert brings a right-handed shot to the Stars’ depth chart. In two seasons with the Kings’ AHL affiliations, Ebert had 10 goals and 26 points in 89 games. Ebert was the last overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, which was a shot because he was ranked as the 25th best skater by NHL Central Scouting and had many pundits peg him as a first-round pick.
The other move with AHL implications was the move of Anthony DeAngelo to Arizona. Despite being one of the best offensive defenseman in the Lightning system, it seems that his rookie season in Syracuse left a bit to be desired due to his defensive performance. After putting up six goals and 37 assists with the Syracuse Crunch in his first AHL season, the black-eye on DeAngelo was his minus-18 he put up, leading many to think he needed to be elsewhere to hone his defensive prowess.
In speaking with Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, DeAngelo’s father Lou made it out to be a mutual parting. “I wish things could have been different, but I think it’s better for all involved,” claimed the elder DeAngelo. “We’re looking for the opportunity to play in the NHL sooner rather than later.”
With the addition to DeAngelo to the blue line in the Coyotes organization is something that will be welcome for the offensive side, but may not give him what is needed to get his defensive game in check. Only Justin Hache was a plus-player on the blue line, though both Alex Grant and Phillip Samuelsson were top-five in team scoring for the then Springfield Falcons. In the move to Tucson, maybe the lighter schedule will help everyone involved develop into better players in their own end, while also putting someone like DeAngelo in a better position to succeed.
Just as the Draft concluded, the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Kerby Rychel from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Scott Harrington. Rychel, who made it known last season he wanted out of Columbus, had 27 points in 37 games with Calder Cup champions Lake Erie, providing six points in 17 playoff games. With Rychel not needing waivers to go to the minor league, there’s an outside chance that he could play with the Marlies at the start of the season.
Harrington will need waivers to go to the AHL, which means the Blue Jackets would get a compensation pick should he not get past waivers on his way to Lake Erie. The left-handed defenseman had three points in 17 games with the Marlies, while also spending 15 games with the Maple Leafs during 2015-16.
“Harrington is steady, smart, he’s a good defender,” Jarmo Kekalainen told Aaron Portzline. “He competes. He has character. Those are the things we really like about him. He has good size. We’ve liked him for a while.”
Fairly big names and plenty of guys who could very much use the change of scenery in order to succeed to their capabilities. Many of these guys will want to prove their hype wasn’t for naught and to maybe rub it in the face of those who gave up on them. Directions in organizations change, which is just the business of hockey. Hopefully, these players are able to get back on their feet and use this as motivation for the upcoming season.
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