Sometimes, you can go home. That’s exactly what defender Steven Kampfer did, as the veteran returned to the Boston Bruins last season, after seven years with other clubs. Traded to the Minnesota Wild on February 27th, 2012, Kampfer was sent back to the Bruins in the Adam McQuaid trade from the New York Rangers last September. He was, for the most part, expected to be an AHL player a season ago. However, Kampfer proved valuable as the season went on filling in for injured veterans and even stepping up in the playoffs.
A new contract in June has Kampfer back in the fold with the Bruins in 2019-20. It will be tough for him to crack the opening night lineup, and possibly even the roster. The Bruins have an insane amount of depth on the blueline. Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo will make up the club’s top-four on defense. Matt Grzelcyk is a lock to make the team, as is Connor Clifton. With six defensemen already on board, Kampfer has to win the final spot.
The good news? Kevan Miller is not close to game action, while John Moore will miss some considerable time during the regular season. That, in theory, should clear the path for Kampfer to be the seventh defender.
Kampfer was a complete afterthought when the trade with the Rangers was completed last season. The expectation was, with the Bruins’ depth, he’d be a regular in Providence. Kampfer did appear in three games with the club but spent most of his season in Boston with the Bruins. Kampfer appeared in 35 games with the Bruins, the second-highest total of his career. He also appeared in three playoff games, which were the first of his lengthy career.
He manged respectable stats for a depth defenseman, scoring three goals and adding three helpers for six points. In his three postseason games, Kampfer added his first career playoff goal. Not bad. A -6 rating was the lone negative spot for Kampfer, who showed well possession-wise.
His Corsi For of 53.6% was right in line with the team average, while his Fenwick For was actually positive. Kampfer provided immense value as a depth defender who could produce and not be a liability. Many don’t realize how important that role is.
Expect more of the same from Kampfer this season. With Miller and Moore on the mend, he should make the opening night roster as the seventh defender. Seventh defenders don’t play every night, but they do play quite a lot. Injuries will certainly strike during the season, while slumps will be a factor as well. As the top replacement candidate, Kampfer is likely looking at 35-40 games again this season.
Don’t expect much more offensively from him. Kampfer is a solid puck mover who possesses a good shot, but he won’t get the prime minutes to produce. It’s unlikely he sees any powerplay time, and odds are he’ll play a depth role in the lineup.
Bruins fans can expect another solid season from Kampfer. He’ll play roughly half the games, bring steady defensive play and chip in the odd point. He’s a very nice player to have down the lineup.
Official Prediction: 37 GP, 2 Goals, 3 Assists, 5 Points, +4, 14:43 TOI