The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost yet another starting goaltender to free agency as Jack Campbell has signed with the Edmonton Oilers for five years at $5 million in average annual value (AAV). Last offseason, it was Frederik Andersen, who left to join the Carolina Hurricanes on a two-year deal. This time it’s the 30-year-old Campbell donning Oilers colors, as the writing was clearly on the wall when Matt Murray was acquired from the Ottawa Senators on July 11 that his time in the blue and white had come to an end.
A veteran of 149 games in the NHL (regular season and playoffs), Campbell leaves the Maple Leafs after parts of three seasons where he recorded a 2.53 goals-against average (GAA) and .916 save percentage (SV%) along with seven shutouts in 77 appearances. Initially selected 11th overall by the Dallas Stars in the 2010 Draft, he only played one game with them before he was shipped off to the Los Angeles Kings in 2016 for Nick Ebert. Unfortunately, the 25-year-old ended up being stuck behind the workhorse that is Jonathan Quick and only played 57 games between 2016 and 2020.
Related: 2022 NHL Free Agent Tracker
Acquired by the Maple Leafs in 2020 along with Kyle Clifford for Tyler Moore and a 2021 third-round pick that eventually became Cameron Whynot, he established himself as a capable starter behind Andersen. His best season came in 2020-21 when he posted a 2.15 GAA and .921 SV% along with two shutouts, which gave general manager Kyle Dubas the confidence to run with him rather than the aforementioned Andersen for the 2021-22 season.
Campbell did not disappoint early on in the season, going on a run of Vezina Trophy-like performances until he struggled with injury and inconsistent play. He still put up respectable numbers though, finishing with a career-high 47 starts and a record of 31-9-6 along with a 2.64 GAA and .914 SV%. He also blanked the opposition a career-best five times. The man they called “Soup” will be missed in Toronto, as he became a fan favorite because of his goofy personality and overall demeanour with the fans and media.
Fit With the Oilers
Campbell is not only a capable starter in the NHL, but he is also a positive presence in the locker room. He makes the crease stronger for the Oilers and will bring intangibles off the ice as well. For a team that struggled in the goaltending department, he brings veteran savvy and the ability to stop the puck on a consistent basis. While the Maple Leafs have lost in the first round of the playoffs every year he’s been in Toronto, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone put the blame on him. He’s done his job, it’s been the players in front of him that have failed to push the needle towards the second round.
With Campbell in the fold, the Oilers might be able to win a few more games and hopefully push themselves towards the Stanley Cup Final, which they got oh so close to just a month ago.
Oilers Get a Legitimate Starting Goalie in Campbell
After a few seasons of Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen as their goaltending tandem, the Oilers are moving in a different direction with a legitimate starting goaltender in Campbell and a youngster in Stuart Skinner. While Campbell hasn’t gotten an NHL team past the first round of the playoffs, he is a much more reliable and consistent solution than the 40-year-old Smith. As mentioned before, he will also bring a playful energy to the dressing room and another character for fans to gravitate toward. General manager Ken Holland needed to finally address his team’s goaltending going into the 2022-23 season, and he definitely did that with this signing. Now the next step is upgrading the defence in front of him so that he doesn’t have to stand on his head every night.
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, media editor, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.