Some dust was kicked up when the Dallas Stars said they had moved their “Goalie of the Future” Jack Campbell from the AHL’s Texas Stars to the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads. The former first-round pick in 2010 and standout of a couple World Junior Championships has had his issues with injuries over his tenure in minor league hockey, but the inconsistent nature of his play had made this move happen.
According to Dallas GM Jim Nill, it’s a matter of getting Campbell time in the net; who hasn’t been in net for Texas since January 20th in a loss against San Antonio:
“He’s going there to play games, and that’s exactly what he needs right now, so it’s a positive thing,” said Nill. “The schedule sets up perfectly where Idaho has nine games in a short time span, and that’s a great chance for Jack to get down there and play some games and find his game. He needs that right now.”
And while that’s what the Stars organization claim, will Campbell get playing time when he gets to Idaho, especially with Olivier Roy playing the way he’s playing?? In Texas, Campbell is 3-10-4 with a 3.36 GAA and .890 save percentage while facing an average of 27 shots a game (511 shots against in 19 games). For a guy who has had success in all levels prior; Campbell is facing his first instance of adversity in his hockey career and it could be that he could not be mentally prepared for such tough luck and may be trying to hard to shake his bad luck.
There were high hopes for Campbell at the beginning of the year, especially considering the 2013-14 campaign was cut short and Campbell had his eye’s set on something big for the upcoming season as he told Stephen Meserve of TheAHL.com during November:
“Personally, I want to play a lot of games and prove that last year was a fluke as far as injuries go,” said Campbell. “I’m just taking it one day at a time, but my body is feeling good.”
It was tough for Campbell to watch so much of the playoffs from the press box.
“It’s so hard. Selfishly, you want to be in there because I just love being on the ice and helping the team win. I had a chance to be on the bench in the Finals, but that was tough too,” he said. “I came back and felt like I was ready to play, but I had been out for almost a month. You have to look at what’s best for the team.
“We ended up winning the whole thing, and there’s nothing better. You forget about not playing or getting injured when you lift that Cup.”
Yet, it hasn’t panned out just yet for Campbell and some of it could be the psyche and some of it could be just development is not rounding into form, as it has been known that goaltending is the hardest position to develop into. Despite that fact, who knows if the demotion will help or hinder the play of Campbell. A redeeming quality of this isn’t as terrible as I or others are making it sound because most teams do use the ECHL when they have plenty of goalie depth– something that Dallas has with Campbell, Henri Kiviaho, Philippe Desrosiers (currently in the QMJHL), and Brent Moran (currently in OHL) all on the horizon for the Stars to choose from.
Getting back to who I mentioned earlier, Olivier Roy, who is second in the ECHL with 22 wins, tied for second with three shutouts, and eighth in goals against average a 2.47. However, Roy has only won six of his last 10 and dropped three of his last five; which could provide motivation for himself knowing that Campbell is going to be as hungry as he is to make an impact in a big way.
Even with Texas having a big issue after winning the Calder Cup last year, it wasn’t Campbell who could right the ship, which is why Jussi Rynnas took over and why now Campbell is going to Boise with Kiviaho is going to Cedar Park. With those nine games coming up, it’s the make of break time for Campbell in the Stars organization– which is almost sad to say for a 23-year-old.