From the moment Brian Campbell arrived, there were a lot of people trying to figure out how to get him out of here. Maybe it was the uneasiness we had in seeing the Hawks hand out a contract to a prime free agent on the market. And make no mistake, in the summer of 2008 Campbell was the best blue-liner to have. It was something that never happened. The last big free agent contract the Hawks handed out was Nikolai Khabibulin, and we know how that went (who then strangely would have a really good season before he hit the market again). Over the years, it wasn’t something the Hawks did. It was always washed up stars like Gilmour or Housley that they went for back in the day.
Maybe it was the sheer amount of money. $7 million a year is actually still a lot, but back then it sounded like he was basically being given the United Center.
Maybe it was the method. The Hawks had already showed off all their picks they had developed, as the previous season all of Toews, Kane, Bolland, Brouwer, Hjalmarsson had made their NHL debuts to join Keith and Seabrook. Adding a huge free agent to it just seemed so foreign.