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On Tuesday, the Boston Bruins made their first trade since the Olympic trade freeze was lifted on Monday by trading a conditional fourth round pick in the 2010 or 2011 Entry Draft for the rights to defenseman Stephen Kampfer.
Kampfer, a senior at the University of Michigan, was picked 93rd overall selection in the 2007 Entry Draft by the Anaheim Ducks. During his time at Michigan, Kampfer has notched six goals and added 45 assists in 137 games, earning a plus-53 in addition to 130 penalty minutes. The 5-foot-11, 197-pound blueliner currently leads all Wolverine defenseman in assists (15), points (17) power-play points (1-10-11), and blocks (40).
Unfortunately for the Jackson, Michigan-native, he is most well-known for two incidents that occurred during his junior year, during which he played in 25 games. During the early morning hours of Oct. 12, 2008, Kampfer was left unconscious with a fractured skull and severe neck injury by Michigan football player Michael Milano following a verbal confrontation between Milano and an acquaintance of Kampfer.
Three months later, on January 24, 2009, Kampfer, having returned to the Wolverine hockey team just five days earlier, was clotheslined and sucker-punched by Michigan State hockey players Andrew Conboy and Corey Tropp during Michigan’s 5-3 win over the Spartans. With 53 seconds remaining in the game, Conboy jumped Kampfer from behind in retaliation for a clean, open-ice hit on Tropp, which had just occurred. Tropp, who was clearly uninjured, joined Conboy by slashing Kampfer, who had collapsed to the ice, in the neck area with his stick. Kampfer was taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure and ruled uninjured, while Conboy and Tropp were both suspended by their own head coach.
Despite the attention Kampfer has drawn for less-than-fortunate reasons, it hasn’t been all negative. Kampfer’s head coach at Michigan, Red Berenson, said this of the defenseman:
“I think he has a lot of the intangibles that make a hockey player a lot more than what you see. Steven’s determination, grit and his overall attitude are terrific and I think those are things that you don’t always see on the ice. I can guarantee that Steven will just continue to get better.”
If Berenson’s words become reality, the Kampfer will certainly fit in with the Bruins both on and off the ice. Unfortunately, it will most likely be a few years before fans see the Wolverine in a spoked-B jersey, especially since the two parties are still yet to agree to a contract.
While the trade’s biggest implications will not be revealed for some time, the trade does hold some indicators concerning the direction the Bruins’ front office is looking toward as the National Hockey League moves toward Wednesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. Rumors saying that the Bruins have been looking to make acquisitions for a playoff push have been gaining traction since the end of the Olympics on Sunday, but Boston GM Peter Chiarelli has yet to pull the trigger on a big deal. The trade for Kampfer makes it look like Chiarelli is looking more toward the future of the Bruins, but considering the fact that the Bruins only gave up a fourth round pick, the team may just be hedging their bets. The next 24 hours will reveal the answer.