His playoffs with the Windsor Spitfires ended and his brief World Championship experience with team USA concluded, Dallas Stars first round draft pick Jack Campbell returned home to Michigan for some much deserved rest and a less hectic summer than last year's NHL Draft experience. Or did he?
He'd only been home for a day or two when the young Stars' goaltending prospect was telling media that he plans to stay busy and make the Texas Stars roster this coming fall...
"Last year, I had no chance of making Dallas or the American (Hockey) League team," Campbell said. "With the draft, and I was still in high school as well, I didn't have nearly as much time to prepare. This summer, I'm looking to really be a pro as far as taking care of my body. Hopefully I'll be at the main training camp, fighting for a spot. I'm just going to be out there doing my best."
Campbell said his goal is to be playing in Texas next season, likely with the Texas Stars, Dallas' AHL affiliate. He could also go back and play for the Spitfires.
"Obviously Dallas is a stretch," Campbell said. "My No. 1 focus is to play in Austin in the American League. Being a 19-year-old goalie in that league would be an honor." [Times Herald]
Paul Costanzo of thetimesherald.com has more from Jack in this piece and we thank him for the update from Port Huron, so make sure you give it a click and check it out.
The Texas Stars roster is a lofty goal, as he knows. Just about the only aspect of the Dallas Stars organization that's not up in the air these days (the defense, Brad Richards, ownership, the coaching staff, etc...) is the goaltending situation, and that's system wide. Joe Nieuwendyk has strengthened the position from the top down and from the bottom up with trades, free agent signings and draft picks while seeing returns from pieces already in place (Bachman, Beskorowany).
For that reason Mr. Campbell will have a hard time cracking the roster in Cedar Park at 19 years old. Richard Bachman made well documented strides this year and he is expected to anchor the netminding duo there with 21 year old Tyler Beskorowany, who posted a .921 save percentage his first year in Austin (18 games).
That competition is exactly what Joe Nieuwendyk envisioned at the position when he first addressed the teams needs going forward, and it will be good for all three of them, and one day maybe even for Kari Lehtonen.
Campbell will have to battle what's becoming a little bit of what I am going to call "reverse Marty Turco" reputation, and no it has nothing to do with stick handling...
Continued after the jump...
Marty Turco to this day is remembered by many (though it's unfair) to have been a phenomenal regular season goaltender but a sub par playoff performer. Aside: That's patently absurd. He was not the reason they lost to the Ducks in 2003. He had three shutouts in 2007 (in one series) and he was magnificent in 2008 as they went 18 games deep. That's neither here nor there. For purposes of this discussion let's just say that he has this silly reputation.
Mr. Campbell, who has consciously patterned his game after Marty Turco in some ways, has the opposite stigma about him after a very small sample size. He's great in big games and tournaments but struggled in the regular season with Windsor.
He went 24-14-4 record with a 3.80 GAA and .884 save percentage in his first year with Windsor, and that made Stars fans watching from afar uneasy all year long. Compare that, however, to his stellar performance at the 2011 Junior World Championship that followed his 2010 World Championship gold medal effort, and consider also that he led Windsor to the third round of their playoffs and was said by many to be the best player on the team at that time.
So is he situationally motivated or was the jump from the US developmental league to playing every other night in the OHL a big step that many young men struggle with at first? Let's go with the second one. He has lots of time at the age of 19 to develop his consistency.
Stars goaltending coach Mike Valley told Mike Heika a couple of weeks ago that he does not want to rush Campbell and he expects him to be in Windsor for one more season, so expect that to be the case. Just don't tell Jack, who's probably working out right now while we're sitting around reading Stars blogs. Thank goodness.
There should be room enough for Campbell at Stars training camp this year and maybe, just maybe, with Kari Lehtonen's situation more stable this year and Raycroft cemented as the backup, a little time to see Jack play in an NHL pre-season game here or there to whet our whistles in the mean time.