The Boston Bruins are a team renowned for their overall four-line depth, especially at the center position. Each of Boston’s pivot men bring their own style of hockey to the table, differing in offensive skill, though all fundamentally sound on the defensive end. Aside from the perennial Selke Trophy contender who is Patrice Bergeron, perhaps the next most valuable defensive center on the club is Gregory Campbell.
With that said, Campbell is next up in my series of 2013-2014 season report cards.
Campbell is without a doubt most known for his heroic blocked shot on Evgeni Malkin in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Penguins last spring. He remained on the ice, finishing off his penalty killing shift while hobling about on a broken leg. Heading into the season it was unclear as to how Campbell would bounce back, but he did so with great courage.
Upon returning to the Boston lineup, Campbell picked up right where he left off. The merlot line anchor blocked shots with regularity, served as a vital cog within Claude Julien‘s penalty kill groupings, played hard-nosed defense and never shied away from dropping the gloves when the oppurtunity came about.
Campbell isn’t one who fills up the scoresheet. He’s not the kind of player who scores flashy goals. His game is predicated on hardwork and sheer effort. His hustle and sacrifice more than make up for what he lacks on the offensive end. And don’t forget, he’s not depended on to score.
All-in-all his final offensive numbers weren’t terrible, posting a total of 8 goals and 13 assists.
Though the merlot line was outplayed and outworked when it counted the most against the Montreal Canadiens in the second-round of the playoffs. Dale Weiss, a fellow fourth liner on the Habs, was able to score far to frequently in having his way.
It’s uncertain as to whether the merlot line will have another crack at it next season. Shawn Thornton is set to become an unrestriced free agent. But one thing is certain, and that’s the fact that Campbell will surely have a place within Julien’s defense first system.
Other player report cards can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/qf99ytp
Final Grade: B