The Toronto Maple Leafs have one of the best goalies in the NHL and perhaps THE most well-liked goalie in the league in Jack Campbell. Campbell was a long-time backup goalie who’s played through some highs and lows during his career. He only became a full-fledged starter this season.
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Yet in his first full season as a starter, he’s blossomed. He’s played only a few games over 60 for the Maple Leafs and he’s already started to rise up the franchise record books.
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In this post, we’ll take a look at “7 Cool Facts” about the Maple Leafs’ goalie Jack Campbell.
Fact #1: Jack Campbell Was a Rising Star at 12-Year Old
As a Pee Wee, Jack Campbell backstopped the Detroit Little Caesars Minor Hockey Team to the Championship of the 2005 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament.
Fact #2: The Year 2010 Was a Huge Year for Campbell
The year 2010 was a really big year for Campbell for three reasons:
First, he won a Gold Medal in the 2010 Junior World Championships, when the USA upset the favored Canadian Team 6-5 in the final to end Canada’s five-year Gold Medal Winning Streak. Campbell was also named the best goaltender of the tournament.
Second, he won the Dave Peterson Goalie of The Year Award as the USA’s Best Junior Hockey Goalie of the Year.
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Third, Campbell was one of only thirteen goalies since the year 2,000 to be drafted in the first round of the NHL entry draft when he was taken 11th in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars.
Fact #3: Campbell Helped the Texas Stars Win AHL’s Calder Cup in 2014
Campbell won an AHL Calder Cup Championship with the Texas Stars in 2014. Ironic, given Campbell’s current employment with the Maple Leafs. The Stars defeated the AHL’s Toronto Marlies in the semi-finals that season.
Because Maple Leafs Brendan Shanahan had just been hired as President of the Maple Leafs’ organization on April 11, 2014, and the AHL playoffs ran from April 23rd to June 17 that year, is it possible that Campbell’s performance in the playoffs that season against the Marlies had something to do with Campbell eventually becoming a Maple Leafs’ player?
Campbell also played in his first NHL game that season, a 6-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Dallas did little to help Campbell in that game as he got shelled with 47 shots by the Ducks.
Fact #4: Hockey Hasn’t Always Been Easy for Campbell
After the 2010-11 season, Campbell started on a downward slide. He completely lost confidence in himself. In an interview with Joshua Clipperton of the Canadian Press that was published in the Globe and Mail on February 12th, 2020, Campbell reported that he actually got to the point where he “Didn’t even know how to stand in the net anymore.” (from “How ‘lost soul’ Jack Campbell rediscovered his love of hockey,” Joshua Clipperton, Globe and Mail, 12/02/20).
During the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, Campbell found himself bouncing back and forth between the Texas Stars of the AHL and the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL.
Fact #5: In 2016, Jack Campbell Was Traded for a Player Who Never Played in the NHL
How can fans tell that the Dallas Stars had given up on Campbell? He was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on June 25, 2016, for defenseman Nick Ebert. Ebert was a seventh-round pick (211th overall) from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Ebert has never played an NHL game. This season he’s playing for Orebro HK in the Swedish Hockey League.
Related: Maple Leafs’ Campbell Climbing Into Vezina Conversation
How did Campbell go from the bottom of the scrap heap to the starting goalie for one of the best clubs in the NHL? Campbell gives two goalie coaches credit for helping him turn his game around and rebuild his confidence.
The first coach is Dusty Imoo. Imoo was the goaltender for the Japanese Men’s Hockey Team at the 1998 Winter Olympics. The second is Bill Ranford. Ranford was a former NHL goalie who played 700 total NHL games between the years 1985 and 2000 for five NHL teams.
Fact #6: Campbell’s Second NHL Start Came a “Bit” Later than His First Start
Campbell would get his second NHL start on February 27, 2018. This time he only gave up a single goal on 42 shots, and his Kings defeated the Las Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 4-1. What was so interesting about Campbell’s second NHL start is that it happened exactly four years, four months, and seven days after his first NHL start.
Campbell went on to play in 57 games for the Los Angeles Kings, posting a 20-24-5 record with a save percentage of .918 and a goals-against-average of 2.51. He was acquired by the Maple Leafs on February 5, 2020, with Kyle Clifford, in a trade that sent Trevor Moore, and two third-round picks to Los Angeles.
Fact #7: Campbell Is Already in the Maple Leafs’ Top Twenty in Wins
Campbell is quickly rising to the top of the franchise’s all-time lists. Although he’s only played in 62 regular-season games, Campbell has already hit the top 20 for wins by a Maple Leafs’ goalie. His 42 wins tie him with Terry Sawchuk for 20th place on the franchise’s all-time win list. He’s presently fourth in save percentage all-time at .921 and sixth in all-time goals-against-average at 2.33.
Related: Maple Leafs’ Jack Campbell Is a Teammate You Want on the Roster
Campbell is a fan favorite for the Maple Leafs. He’s a great teammate who’s respected and well-liked by both fans and fellow players.
[Note: I want to thank long-time Maple Leafs’ fan Stan Smith for collaborating with me on this post. Stan’s Facebook profile can be found here.]
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