Over the course of these draft history articles, we've gotten a pretty stiff reminder of one of the main reasons why this franchise has struggled over the years; they done a terrible job mining the latter parts of the draft for talent. Things don't get too much better when we reach the third round, but for the first time there were a few guys worth some note and an actual debate. I was torn between two players, so I reached out to the rest of the LBC gang for help in reaching a winner. The voting was swift and decisive, with Gregory Campbell getting the nod over the more skilled Niklas Hagman as the best among the Panthers choices in round three.
Campbell was plucked from the OHL's Plymouth Whalers with the 67th overall pick in 2002 NHL Entry Draft in Toronto. His best junior season came in 2002-03, after he was traded to the Kitchener Rangers. Campbell scored a career-high 56 points in 55 games and helped lead the team to a league championship and a Memorial Cup win. He was also part of Canada's silver medal-winning World Junior Championship team in 2003. The London, ON native turned pro the next season, playing 76 games with the San Antonio Rampage, where he collected 29 points, and two scoreless games with the Panthers. After another year of seasoning in San Antonio, largely due to the season-long lockout, Campbell became a full-timer with the Cats in 2005-06, scoring 9 points in 64 games of lower-line duty. He spent four more seasons with the Panthers, posting an NHL career-best 32 points in 2008-09, before he was traded to the Boston Bruins with Nathan Horton for Dennis Wideman and a first-round pick in 2010. His first season in Boston couldn't have gone better, as the Bruins won the Stanley Cup over Vancouver. Campbell was a key penalty-killer for the B's during the playoff run, especially in the finals versus the Canucks. The feisty center has spent three additional seasons with Boston, where he continues to a be a useful bottom-six forward and anchor the team's penalty kill. 651 games into his NHL career, Campbell hasn't lost sight of what got him to the bigs and continues to excel at his role.