The latest in a series on top prospects of the Dallas Stars looks at goaltender Jack Campbell, who wrapped up his junior career this past season and also got a jump start on his pro career when he finished the season with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.
Campbell played for both Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League in 2011-12. He started with Windsor, where he posted a 6-3-2 record, 3.13 goals against average and .906 save percentage before being traded to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in early November in exchange for two players and six draft picks. With Sault Ste. Marie he was 15-12-5 with a 3.58 goals against average and .892 save percentage.
Sault Ste. Marie missed the playoffs, ending Campbell’s up and down two-year career in the OHL. It didn’t take a lot of words for Campbell to sum up his junior career.
“I’ll leave it at this: I learned a lot and I’ve taken a lot from it, more from the mental side of it. I am ready to move on,” Campbell said.
Les Jackson, Dallas Stars Director of Player Personnel, said he believes that Campbell’s time in the OHL, although tough at times, will pay dividends down the road.
“He had two real good seasons of learning lessons in the Ontario League. He had some hardships and some challenges, and for him I think those are the best things that can happen,” Jackson said. “He got a chance to play in an environment that is close to the American League and the NHL in terms of the schedule and the daily routine, and learning to be a pro.
“My experience with goalies that have gone on to have success is that a lot of them have gone through some of those hardships and they’ve used them to become better players and better pros.”
Campbell, Dallas’ first round pick (11th overall) in 2010, joined the Texas Stars after his junior season ended. He started Texas’ final 12 games, posting a 4-7-0 record, 3.02 goals against average, .912 save percentage and one shutout.
The numbers don’t look that impressive, but Campbell drew high praise for his play as he gave the AHL’s Stars a chance to win in just about every game he appeared.
“I wish we had had Jack in January. The youthful energy and the passion he has for the game, we’ve always known it,” said Scott White, Texas Stars GM and Dallas Stars Director of Minor League Operations. “He works harder than anyone in practice. I think that work ethic holds your teammates accountable. … He doesn’t quit on any puck. These games are invaluable to him for his progression.”
Said Campbell: “It’s huge for my development, the experience for next season, to get me down here early and play some games. I’m learning what it takes to have success at this level. I feel like I am learning a lot and trying to do that every single day.”
The 20-year-old Campbell, a Michigan native, is expected to play in the AHL next season, his first full one as a professional.
“When Jack went into Texas at the end of the season he really embraced the opportunity. In 90 percent of the games he played he was outstanding,” Jackson said. “I think Jack is in a good place. He’s ready to be a good pro and he’s ready to take the challenge of playing every night in the American League and looking forward to taking the next step from there.”
Background on Dallas Stars prospect Jack Campbell