Chris Campoli - Photo courtesy AOL/Getty Images

Free Agent Blue Plate: Chris Campoli

Chris Campoli got himself a nice little arbitration award, which the Blackhawks wanted no part of.

Could the Oilers be on his horizon?

CHRIS CAMPOLI

POSITION:  Defence

DOB: 09 JUN 1984 (27)

2010-11 NUMBERS: 4-17-21, (Even) 36 PIM in 77 GP (with OTT/CHI)

2010-11 SALARY:  $1.4M, is unrestricted free agent.

THE SKINNY

He’s not right-handed, and he was recently awarded a pretty fat arbitration number (which Chicago eventually walked away from).  If this club can pay Cam Barker $2.3M, I suppose $2.5M for Chris Campoli wouldn’t be so ridiculous. Campoli is a servicable NHL defenceman, which is something I’m looking for on the 2011-12 Edmonton Oilers club.

More on that in a bit.

Campoli was originally drafted by the Islanders late in the 2004 draft.  He spent parts of four seasons on Long Island before being shipped to Ottawa in 2008-09.  A late season acquisition in 2010-11 saw Campoli suit up for 19 games in Chicago.  Although it was close, Chicago suffered a first round exodus at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks.  Campoli, (who then was a restricted free agent) didn’t see eye-to-eye with Chicago’s initial offer and decided to go to arbitration.  He was subsequently awarded a one-year deal of $2.5M, which was flatly rejected by the Blackhawks.  Campoli is now an unrestricted free agent.

HOW DOES HE MAKE EDMONTON BETTER?

Remember Craig Rivet yesterday?  I like Craig Rivet for the right price.  Campoli’s got a bit more upside.  Like Rivet, he’s not going to win you any scoring titles, but he’s a decade younger than Rivet, and the important part is that he’s easily stuck in the roster today if signed.  He’s not a righty (which this team could really use), but he’s a worthwhile investment if fiscal responsibility is exercised.

Me again.

Campoli finished fourth on Chicago in both points (21) and TOI (19:08).  Those ahead of him?  Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Brian Campbell.  While it’d be nice to have a Duncan Keith on the Oiler blue in 2011-12, the $5.5M+ cap hit over the next eleven years makes it a somewhat tough contract to work around.  How about Campoli at around 1.8 for the next year or two?

If the Oilers can zip up a deal with Campoli, he’s an instant starter in the 2-3D range.  As I said yesterday, there’s no room for error on this current roster as it sits.  If Peckham goes down, or if Whitney is unable to play for whatever reason, or if Cam Barker starts sucking wind after fifteen games, it’s nice to know that there’s an NHL veteran other than Andy Sutton (who will get his share of games, believe me) who can help pick up the slack.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have options?  You know, ‘extra’ options?  The idea is that if someone goes down, the club doesn’t have to lean so hard on OKC.   Let the youth movement come in on some cushy minutes if available (read:  that’s not likely this year).

Yes, Taylor Chorney can play.  If Whitney goes down, do you want him to fill in for 60 games?

Campoli isn’t going to win the Norris, but he’s an excellent veteran option for the right price.

Two years, $1.85M a piece.  What do you say, Camp.  We got a deal?

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