TD Bank
Features

Ties Between Bruins, Panthers Run Deep

Sunday, 04.21.2013 / 9:51 AM ET / Features
Boston Bruins
X
Share with your Friends


Ties Between Bruins, Panthers Run Deep

BostonBruins.com - Gregory Campbell was heading out the door for a round of golf when he heard the news.

The 26-year-old forward had just completed his seventh year in the Florida Panthers organization, and he was set to enter restricted free agency following the 2010 season. With a new general manager in place and a new era of Panthers hockey on the horizon, he had no plans to leave the only team he had ever played for.

“I was fully expecting to re-sign with Florida,” Campbell said. “I was a restricted free agent at the time, and [newly hired Panthers general manager Dale Tallon] gave me the call and said they wanted to get something done with me.”

But the NHL is a business, and when the right offer comes along, general managers have to make a move—and that’s exactly what happened on this day in June.

The Panthers shipped Campbell and longtime teammate Nathan Horton up to Boston in exchange for Dennis Wideman, the No. 15 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2011 draft.

Although Campbell initially had no desire to leave Florida, the change was a welcome one.

“[Florida] is the first organization that gave me an opportunity, so you always have a soft spot for that,” Campbell said. “I’ve always been a fan of the game and I’ve always really appreciated the hockey atmosphere, the hockey market, and I knew that Boston was just that. Not only a hockey city but a sports city…one that’s built around winning. That’s the expectation here.”

Horton was the centerpiece of the deal, bringing the physical scoring-punch the Bruins had sought for so long. But Campbell proved every bit as valuable in his own way, providing a versatile, durable, and gritty player who helped round out the Merlot Line.

Both immediately responded to the challenge of playing under Boston’s microscope and became integral pieces of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup team. Campbell played in 80 regular season games—second to only Zdeno Chara and Mark Recchi—and Horton provided an offensive spark throughout the playoffs by registering eight goals and nine assists in 21 games.

Ties between the Panthers and the Bruins’ 2011 championship squad don’t end there, though.

Just months earlier, at the 2010 trade deadline, Boston sent Byron Bitz and Craig Weller to Florida in exchange for Dennis Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowski.

Seidenberg immediately became a mainstay on the Bruins’ blue line. The shot-blocking specialist recorded a career-high 32 points during the 2010-11 season and tacked on 11 more in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“It’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” Seidenberg said. “You can’t ask for more than to get traded to an Original Six team with a lot of history and a good fan base.

“There’s also a lot more pressure put on by us and also by the media, but it’s something you want to be a part of.”

Even Matt Bartkowski, a little-known seventh-round draft pick from Ohio State, is now growing into a valuable member of the Bruins’ defensive corps. He has skated in 11 games this season, providing a stable and reliable presence for Boston’s injury-riddled roster.

The Boston-Florida Pipeline has obviously proven fruitful for the B’s, but the Panthers have also used these deals to stock up on young players.

Florida turned Boston’s draft picks into defensive cornerstone Dmitry Kulikov (231 games played since 2009) and budding University of Minnesota forward Kyle Rau. The Cats also flipped Dennis Wideman for a 2011 third-round draft pick, which they used to select promising defenseman Jonathan Racine, who made his professional debut this season.

Despite their differences, the Panthers and Bruins have quietly developed a mutually beneficial partnership that has both franchises moving in the right direction.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 81 23 32 2 55
L. Eriksson 81 22 25 1 47
M. Lucic 81 18 26 13 44
C. Soderberg 82 13 31 10 44
B. Marchand 77 24 18 5 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
R. Smith 81 13 27 7 40
T. Krug 78 12 27 13 39
D. Krejci 47 7 24 7 31
C. Kelly 80 7 21 6 28
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 34 21 13 .922 2.30
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
Hallmark Health System
BRUINS FAN POLL
 
Friendly's - Official Family Restaurant and Ice Cream of the Boston Bruins
Jack Links
NHL Ticket Exchange
Dunkin' Donuts Perks   AMI Graphics   Geico - Aim for savings

Click the instant ticket and enter to win Second Chance Drawings