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Maple Leafs’ Newcomer David Kampf Haunts His Old Team: He Scored!

The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up David Kampf when the Chicago Blackhawks allowed him to become a UFA. What does Kampf bring to the team?

The question I have is why the Chicago Blackhawks declined to give David Kampf a qualifying offer. From my perspective, he’s been a great find for the Toronto Maple Leafs. I think he had a single bad game all season, but other than that he’s played rock-solid defense. He’s also won a large majority of his face-offs (59 percent). Indeed, he’s a great bargain at under $1 million.

Related: Three Takeaways from the Maple Leafs 3-2 Win Over the Blackhawks

Kampf Scores His First Goal of the Season Against His Old Team

Kampf scored the second Maple Leafs’ goal of the game to tie the score 2-2 in what eventually became a 3-2 overtime win against his former Blackhawks’ team. It was his first goal – in fact his first point – in the eight games he’s played for the Maple Leafs this season. That it came against his former team, the Blackhawks had to be special.

The Blackhawks Obviously Wanted to Try to Keep Him, But …

This past offseason, as the Blackhawks prepared for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, they protected Kampf. That should have been an indication that they were planning on trying to keep him in their roster. However, the Blackhawks didn’t qualify him and allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent. Obviously, Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas had Kampf on his radar and went after him.

The result was that Kampf signed with the Maple Leafs for two years at an average annual value of $1.5 million. Given his unique skill set – and one that I have to believe most NHL coaches would covet – it seems surprising that the Blackhawks wouldn’t offer Kampf a contract.

However, two things might have mitigated against such an offer. First, Kampf had arbitration rights and the Blackhawks might have believed signing him would have become too costly in the end. Second, this same situation had been played out in 2019. Two years ago, the Blackhawks also decided against qualifying him and Kampf didn’t move. He signed a two-year contract extension at $1 million per season. They might have thought he’d do the same thing.

The Maple Leafs Seem to Have Found a Keeper in Kampf

After Kampf had signed with the Maple Leafs, there was a lot of pointing at his lack of production on the scoresheet. He scored only one goal and totalled 12 points in 56 games during the 2020-21 regular season. Still during the preseason, head coach Sheldon Keefe went out of his way to suggest that Kampf did have an offensive skillset. At the same time, Keefe lauded Kampf’s willingness to play defense and concentrate on that aspect of his game.

Kyle Dubas Sheldon Keefe Toronto Maple Leafs
The entire Maple Leafs braintrust is pleased with David Kampf

Fortunately for the Maple Leafs, on Wednesday Kampf showed both his offense and his defense. In his first game against his old team, Kampf did TO his old team in one game what he only had done one time during the entire season WITH his old team. He scored. It was a great goal – a beautiful goal – and it came on a backhander just over halfway through the third period.

Kampf Exacts Payback in His First Game Against Chicago

Kampf’s goal was exactly what the Maple Leafs needed and it came back to haunt his former team. That goal tied the game. However, it wasn’t the only way Kampf helped beat his old team. He also had a couple of hits and won 10 of 14 faceoffs (71.4 percent) – mostly in the defensive zone.

The 26-year-old former Blackhawk looks good in a Maple Leafs’ uniform. He also has shown that he can add value on the scoresheet as well. I have to wonder how the Blackhawks felt that they let him get away when they likely didn’t have to. [The organization might have had other things on its mind.]

Who wants to start the office pool to see when Kampf scores goal number two for the Maple Leafs? It seems he has scoring in him.

Related: Does Maple Leafs’ Coach Keefe Believe His Team Isn’t Good Enough?



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