BOSTON -- The writing was on the wall for Bruins defenseman Steve Kampfer when he was sent down to Providence several weeks ago.
The puck-moving defenseman wasnt developing as a puck-moving defenseman while sitting behind six solid Boston blue liners at the NHL level, and was caught in between the AHL level and establishing himself in the big leagues.
The dilemma came to a head when he was thrown into the lineup against Philadelphia last month once injuries hit the Bs rear guard, and he was rocked by Brayden Schenn minutes into the game while attempting to shake the rust off. It was easy to envision the same thing happening in the postseason if Kampfer were tossed in there after a long stretch of inactivity.The Bruins needed more of a veteran presence among their current defensemen corps, so they sent Steve Kampfer to the Minnesota Wild for a veteran defenseman."In his defense, Kampferhad kind of a tough ride this year. I think it happens. I dont know if its a sophomore jinx, but it happens sometimes. When he came in his rookie seasonhe had some swagger and gave us that little bit of puck moving and skating that we were looking for at the time," said Peter Chiarelli. "For whatever reason it wasnt there this year. In the defense of Steve he maynot have hadthe opportunity because we didnt have the injuries that maybe he would have had the opportunity to play. "I believe he is an NHL player. I think he will be in the NHL and we got a NHL player in return."
The 23-year-old managed to get into only 10 games this season for the Bruins with two assists and a plus-6, and the writing was on the wall when he was switched out in place of Andrew Bodnarchuk prior to Bostons six-game road trip.
Kampfer said he has nothing but fond memories winning a Cup in Boston after learning of the trade, and will get a chance to compete for a full-time NHL job in Minnesota.
Best of luck to all the guys. I will miss the boys in the locker room, said Kampfer in a text toCSNNE.com. Its a great group there.
The Bruins acquired Minnesota Wild defenseman Greg Zanon in exchange for Kampfer, and also collected former Boston College star Mike Mottau along with Brian Rolston for prospects Yannick Riendeau and Marc Cantin. Both had bounced back and fourth to the ECHL level in the Bs organization this season.
Zanon is a lefty-shooting, stay-at-home defenseman that will give the Bruins options once the playoffs start, and he provides the defensive grit and shot-blocking abilities that the Bs coaching staff prefers in the postseason. His presence also allows the Bruins to slide Dennis Seidenberg up to the top D pairing with Zdeno Chara once the postseason begins as they did during last years playoff run.
Mottau has been a fringe NHL defenseman over the last two seasons while playing 49 total games for the Islanders, and brings the same puck-moving skills that Kampfer provided at his best.
None of the moves will push the Bruins over the top if they again repeat as Stanley Cup champs, but it gives Boston much better defenseman depth than last season when they had only Shane Hnidy and Kampfer behind the struggling Tomas Kaberle.