This offseason, there are several decisions that Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and the front office have to make on both restricted and unrestricted free agents. Monday, the Bruins now have one less decision to make.
After two stints with Boston and nine years overall in the NHL, Steven Kampfer is leaving to continue his professional career in Russia. Monday, it was reported by Full Press Hockey that Kampfer was signed a contract with AK Bars Kazan in the Kontential Hockey League (KHL) for the 2021-22 season.
Kampfer is leaving and that’s Ok for the Bruins.
While the Bruins have bigger names to worry about, Kampfer leaving to go play in Russia is OK. Why? While he played in 133 career games for the Black and Gold over five seasons, the 32-year-old was nothing more than a depth defensemen.
Kampfer played in 20 games in the 56-game shortened 2020-21 NHL season for the Bruins and did a decent job filling in as the injuries piled up on the blueline. He used his 5-foot-11, 198-pound frame to be physical and score two goals and dishing out three assists.
Despite averaging 16:42 a night, Kampfer fell down the Bruins depth chart behind some of the younger blueliners. Jakub Zboril made the Opening Night roster against the New Jersey Devils over Kampfer and it took several injuries on defense for him to work his way into the lineup for Bruce Cassidy.
Kampfer, who also spent time with the Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, and New York Rangers over his nine years in the league, had his two-year, $1.6 million contract that carried an annual average value (AAV) of $800,000 expire this season. Could the Bruins have re-signed him for depth? Yes, but it probably would not have been for much more than the last deal.
With several young defensemen between Boston and Providence in the American Hockey League looking to crack the top-six next season, there is no more of a need for a depth guy who struggled to get on the ice and is on the wrong side of 30 years old.
The Bruins have bigger needs on defense this offseason as they look to add a 20-minute a night left-shot defensemen to help solidify their top-four. Kampfer was not going to give the Bruins what they need and it was in both his and the team’s best interest to move on.