I have been unable to stop smiling since news broke late last night during the draft that Brian Campbell had agreed to waive his no trade clause and head to the Florida Panthers. Let me start off by saying I have nothing bad to say about Soupy. He is a good guy, a solid player and meant a lot to this Hawks team over the last 3 seasons but his contract was awful. Thanks to the contract former general manager gave him, he should have been competing for the Norris Trophy every year but that isn't the type of player he is. He made the All-Star team during his first year in Chicago and played very well for 3 seasons but he was just getting paid too much.
This past season he wasn't on the top power play unit anymore and he didn't play on any penalty kills. He is never matched up on the other teams best offensive unit. His plus 28 rating is very deceiving.
So the Hawks were able to trade him and his $7.14 million cap, for the next FIVE YEARS, hit to former GM Dal Tallon and the Florida Panthers in exchange for Rostislav Olesz who is making 3.125 over the next 3 seasons. Olesz is nothing special but at 25 still has some room to grow and may benefit from a change of scenery and playing with better players.
Olesz was a first round pick of the Panther back in 2004 and made his NHL debit the next season appearing in 59 games during the 2005-2006 season. He has scored 14 goals twice in a seasons and had his best assist season in 2006-2007 with 19. He has already played 6 seasons in the NHL and can play wing or center. I was so impressed by Michael Frolik last season after we got him from Florida that I am willing to see what this kid has and think he may surprise some people.
But the best part of the deal is the money. Brian had 5 years at over $7 million per season while Olesz has only 3 years remaining on his deal that pays him just over $3 million. Between this deal and the Troy Brouwer trade the Hawks cleared what could be $10 million dollars off the books for next seasons. This will allow them to bring back guys like Michael Frolik and Chris Campoli while also looking at the free agent market to fill some holes instead of just picking up minimum salary or rookie players.
Campbell and the Panthers come to town in January. It should be a big year getting to see all these former Hawks come back to the UC for the first time since being traded. Fans you may be upset but trust me this is what is best for the team in the long run. I also feel safe in saying that this will ensure that Patrick Sharp ends his career here in Chicago which makes this a win in my book.