Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon didn’t wait around until July 1st to get things accomplished as he dropped a bomb Friday night announcing he had traded forward Rostislav Olesz to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenceman Brian Campbell.


Campbell, 32, waived his no-trade clause in order to be moved to the Panthers. He had 5 goals and 27 points and was a plus-28 last year in Chicago.  In his 11 seasons spent between Chicago and Buffalo, including a brief stop in San Jose the Strathroy, Ontario native has 54 goals and 312 points in 626 games.


The puck-moving defenceman, Campbell still has five more years remaining on his contract, and is set to make $7.1 million per season.


Meanwhile, the 25-year old, Olesz had 6 goals and 11 assists for Florida in 44 games last season. Olesz’s injury problems continued again as he missed 17 games with a broken finger, before missing the remaining 21-games of the regular season with a knee injury.


This trade, even with Campbell’s glaring contract is a great move by the Panthers. Campbell is a great defenceman and has great experience in the NHL. Nobody knows this better than Dale Tallon who was the guy that signed Campbell when they were both in Chicago.


Campbell will fit nicely into the empty position in the Panthers defensive core, and he will provide great leadership to Florida’s very young blueline which features Keaton Ellerby, Dmitry Kulikov, Jason Garrison, Mike Weaver, and more than likely last year’s first round pick - Erik Gudbranson. He will also play a huge roll on the power play as our quarterback.


Even though Florida is bringing on Campbell’s 7.1M contract, surprisingly, Olesz, as a player who has been often injured and has never scored more than 30 points in his career actually had his own contract at 3.1M, meaning Florida only takes on an extra 4M for a defenceman who played a huge roll in Chicago’s 2010 Stanley Cup victory.


Campbell’s contract also helps out the Panthers as they now have a dozen players signed to 22 million dollars. They still need to find away to pay out another 26 million so they can reach salary floor in order to participate in the regular season.


As for Chicago, they are more than happy to see Campbell’s contract leave as they finally have some flexibility to make moves this off-season.


Olesz has three years remaining on his contract which pays him 3.125 million dollars a year. But, because his contract is increasing, he is actually owed $11.65 million, meaning he is more expensive than his cap hit.


According to “TSN” Chicago will consider buying out Olesz, because as a 25-year old, it would only cost them one-third of the cap hit, spread out over the next six seasons.


Either way you look at it as a Panthers fan, moving a practical 4th-line man for a top defensive player is always a good move. To walk out of this deal and have several reasons why it helps your team gives you just that much more confidence in Dale Tallon.



Adam Reid