Florida's Gregory Campbell: finished with Panthers?

And down goes Soup. According to the Miami Herald, Panthers forward Gregory Campbell may be done for the season, nursing a broken bone in his foot, sustained March 20th against Buffalo. Of course, "Soup" is putting the best possible light on the injury: "It's a broken bone, but once I can put on the skate and push off and feel confident on my stop and starts, then I can come back."

But will his team ultimately go another route?

Campbell was in the midst of his best stretch of the year with 4 assists (+3) in his past four games. He was on pace to break his best month of the season so far (2g-4a in January), which is by no means what was expected of the center coming into the 2009-10 campaign. 32 points a year ago was a benchmark, playing what some may brand as beyond his projections as a career third or fourth line pivot. Needless to say, it simply hasn't been repeated.

His pugilistic skills have not gone unnoticed, nor unused: 53 penalty minutes in sixty games places him on par with numbers from twelve months ago (NHL career-high 76 in seventy-seven appearances. However, Nick Tarnasky has - for now - run with role, and quite effectively.

A restricted free agent in July, it's difficult to predict what Panthers general manager Randy Sexton has in store for Campbell; as usual, much will depend upon price (current salary is $762,500) and what direction he may wish to drive the club.

There is competition for the roster spot: Shawn Matthias has impressed lately and Cats' management is under extraordinary outside pressure to acquire a true first-line center over the summer. Assuming this happens, the top four Florida centers would be Stephen Weiss, Steven Reinprecht, Matthias, and unnamed-hoped-for acquisition.

Which opens another can of worms: as a "skill" player, is it not a horrible waste having Matthias grinding on the third or fourth line?

Anyway, Cats at Habs tonight...Live Game Forum fires up around 6ish.

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