Sep 22, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) and rookie goalie Jack Campbell (1) celebrate the win over the Colorado Avalanche at the American Airlines Center The Stars defeated the Avalanche 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

2012 Dallas Stars Prospect-Gazing: Jack Campbell

Over the next month I will be taking a look at current prospects in the system. The hope is to inform you about the players and give some insight into what fans should expect from them this coming year and where they should play during the 2012-2013 season. Most of the articles will cover the big-name kids, but also a couple will be done on members of the organization that I believe people should keep an eye on. Our first prospect was Jamie Oleksiak (click here to see the article), then we jumped to Scott Glennie (article right here) and fellow forwards Alex Chiasson (story here) and Reilly Smith (right here). Now we are moving into a new batch of players, starting with Campbell today!

Jack Campbell – Goalie

Jack Campbell continues to be one of the most intriguing prospects for the Dallas Stars, and for good reason. He was of course the first round pick by the team in the 2010 entry draft, the second first round pick taken under the current Joe Nieuwendyk era. But after the possible reach in drafting Scott Glennie the summer before and the team in definite need of defensive help, it was a questioned decision when the Stars drafted Campbell with the 11th overall pick while numerous defensemen were still on the board. But upon being drafted, the praise for Jack was high. He had great numbers and growth with the US National Team Development Program, possessed solid size and athletic abilities, and looked like a future number one in the NHL.

The road since being drafted has been treacherous though. Campbell still is considered the Stars’ top goaltending prospect for the future. But some are being to question how high his potential really is, and if some of the hiccups in the OHL are just that or if they allude to what Campbell might be as a finished player.

After being drafted by Dallas, Campbell jumped from the Development Program to the OHL with the Windsor Spitfires. Although Windsor did have a successful season and Campbell finished with a 24-14-2 record, his GAA was significantly higher than expected at 3.80. In his second season in the OHL this last year, Campbell was traded from the rebuilding Spitfires to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for a boatload of picks and a couple of players. In between the two franchises he posted a 21-15-7 record, but yet again his GAA was up above 3.0 as Campbell and the Greyhounds finished outside of the playoffs. In the end his OHL career came to a close with a 3.50 GAA and .894 SV% over 91 games, with a final record of 45-29-9.

Yet after a rough couple of seasons in juniors, things are looking back up for Campbell. Not making the playoffs in the OHL opened the door for him to be called up to the Texas Stars. Making the jump to the professional level turned out to be a positive experience, as he participated in 12 games while posting one shutout and dropping his GAA down to 3.02 with a Texas team that had nothing to paly for over the last couple of weeks.

So where does Campbell fit into the big picture for the new season and calender hockey year? Well it seems likely that he will spend his first professional season in one place: the AHL with Texas. Richard Bachman appears to be back as the backup for definitive number one Kari Lehtonen in Dallas. Campbell likely could see some starts and playing time in preseason (if it does in fact occur), but then will be back down in Austin. But even there he could have some competition to push him. Recent addition from overseas Christopher Nihlstorp is the veteran goaltender simply in terms of age and overall playing experience, but one of Europe’s top goalies will now be sharing the load with Campbell for the Texas Stars. And it could be a good thing for both to have another promising netminder to push each other forward. And with a Texas team that should have a little better talent throughout this season as some top prospects jump to the professional level, Campbell could become the 1A and get a solid chance to take a big step forward in his first full season in the pros.

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Tags: Christopher Nihlstorp Dallas Stars Jack Campbell Joe Nieuwendyk OHL Richard Bachman Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Scott Glennie Texas Stars Windsor Spitfires

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