By signing goaltender Jack Campbell to a five-year, $25 million contract in the summer of 2022, Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland certainly didn’t think he’d be sending him to the AHL just over a year later.
But that’s what happened, after a disastrous start to the season (as well as his team) for the former Toronto Maple Leafs. In five appearances since the start of the campaign, Campbell has won just once, allowing a 4.50 goals-against average and posting a .873 save percentage.
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No one fell off their chair when news of his demotion to the AHL broke. But the main person in question admitted that he was surprised by the announcement.
“I’m pretty hard on myself, I think that’s pretty well documented in the hockey world,” he told reporters Thursday. Obviously it’s a league of results up there – anywhere really – but I felt I was playing well, I had a bit of confidence. But apparently the numbers weren’t enough.”
Campbell wasted no time making a name for himself with the Bakersfield Condors, the Oilers’ farm club. In his first AHL game since the 2018-19 season, the 31-year-old scored four goals on 20 shots in his team’s 4-1 loss against the Abbotsford Canucks.
In addition to the average performance in the statistics, Campbell allowed a rather unbelievable goal on the second net of the Canucks. Despite everything, Kerber isn’t too worried about what will happen next.
“I have some things I need to continue to work on to get to the next level in my game, and it doesn’t change whether I’m here or in the National League. I just have to go to work.”