Yesterday the Kings brought a different sort of player up to be their extra defenseman, swapping the smaller, more offensive Bodnarchuk for 25 year old stay-at-home d-man Andrew Campbell.
Here's a look at the new call-up.
#81 / Defenseman / Los Angeles Kings
Feb 04, 1988
- Size and reach
- Shot blocking
- Penalty killing
- Skating/foot speed
- No NHL experience
Andrew Campbell is a rangy, late-blooming, stay-at-home defenseman who has spent the last four seasons with the Manchester Monarchs. The AHL doesn't track basic stats like time on ice, but he is relied on for his penalty killing, and he's steadily improved his plus/minus rating over the years. Campbell also won the Mark Bavis Unsung Hero Award, voted on by his teammates, the last two seasons in a row.
Here is what the Monarchs' coach had to say about him when he first won the award in 2011:
"His steady, reliable play earned him valuable ice time late in games at critical moments against our opponent’s top threats," said Morris. "Each season, he has gotten stronger and more [confident in] his abilities. He moves the puck smartly and makes good decisions. His reads are excellent."
"Andrew is an excellent penalty killer and he takes great pride in shutting down opponents," explained Morris, who went on to state that Campbell might be the "best shot blocker in the American Hockey League." -Monarchs Hockey
The Kings also thought highly enough of him to make him one of the "Black Aces" in last season's playoff run along with Jake Muzzin.
Campbell probably isn't going to turn heads with his play, but that won't be his job. His role is to be steady and reliable. If he earns a shot, the Kings will likely protect him from tough matchups at even strength and hope he can take a little of the heavy PK load off of Rob Scuderi. He also isn't the fastest guy out there, so attention to positioning and reads will be important. After watching him in Manchester, I think he could possibly become an average third pairing contributor if kept in the right situation.
What do you think of this call-up? In my view he's paid his dues for a while, and it can't hurt to give him a look.