VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 01: Gregory Campbell #11 of the Boston Bruins warms up prior to game one against the Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Rogers Arena on June 1, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
While Gregory Campbell didn’t blow anyone away with his play this season, Campbell was part of a group that gave a good effort and lived up to expectations of a fourth line center. Along with his other linemates, Campbell’s impact on the ice goes beyond the typical box score of goals assists and points.
Throughout the 2011-12 season, Campbell was a key cog in the penalty killing unit that ranked just outside of the top 10. Looking at the forwards who made up the primary penalty killing groups, Campbell trailed only Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly in shorthanded minutes played. Outside of those core three players who all played 130+ minutes on the kill, Boston only had one other forward over 100 minutes for the season.
Campbell also had a good season in the faceoff dot by winning just over half of his 678 faceoffs taken. Bergeron’s 59.3% led the team, but Campbell’s 50.7 % was fourth on the team for anyone who took more than 400 faceoffs. Campbell’s faceoff success also an advantage when shorthanded – the consistency ensured the team almost always had a capable center (Campbell, Bergeron or Kelly) on the ice during the penalty kill.
Like his linemate Shawn Thornton, Campbell had no trouble dropping the gloves and did so 10 times during the season, which placed him second on the team behind Thornton. In fact, Campbell and Thornton accounted for 49% of all Boston fights during the season. While Campbell clearly had no problem engaging in a fight, he otherwise was a very smart player throughout the year – he finished with only 11-non major penalties during the season, which allowed one of Boston’s best penalty killers to stay out of the box and on the ice for kill situations.
It would have been great if Campbell could have reproduced a point-related season like the 2010-11 campaign that saw his second-best scoring output of his seven year career, but it instead Campbell returned to the output that was on pace with five of his seven seasons. His 16 points was his lowest total since the 2007-08 season with Florida, as was his eight assists. On the positive side, Campbell’s eight goals was the third-highest season total for his career.
Campbell signed a new deal with the team this offseason, so we don’t need to speculate about his future, as he will be with the Bruins for the next three years. Next year should be interesting to see if Campbell will return to the up-season, down-season pattern of the last few years, or if what we saw last season is what we can expect to get for the next three years.