Brian Campbell makes cap-friendly return to Chicago

Brian Campbell has two assists in three games with the Panthers this season and hasn’t missed a game with the Panthers since being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2011 NHL Draft. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

Free agent Brian Campbell is heading back to the Chicago Blackhawks in order to chase another Stanley Cup.

The 37-year-old defenceman is taking a significant pay cut and a cap-friendly deal in order to rejoin the club with whom he won a championship in 2010.

Campbell’s pact with the Blackhawks is for one year and a reported $2.25 million.

“It’s where my heart is,” Campbell told reporters. “It’s where I want to play.”

The former Florida Panther’s previous deal made him an annual average of $7.14 million.

Despite his age, Campbell remains a workhorse, skating more than 22 minutes a game. Last season he ran Florida’s power-play alongside Aaron Ekblad and contributed 31 points.

The Panthers appeared to be moving on from Campbell when they signed Keith Yandle to a seven-year, $44.45-million contract on June 23.

Campbell played in Chicago from 2008 to 2011 before spending the last five seasons in Florida.

He was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 2011-12 after scoring 53 points and recording only six penalty minutes. He was the first defenceman since Red Kelly (1954) to win the award.

The Strathroy, Ont., native netted 19 goals and tallied 98 assists in 215 games during his first stint with the Blackhawks. He appeared in 43 Stanley Cup Playoffs games with Chicago scoring 18 points.

Campbell ranks seventh among active NHL defencemen with 1,002 career games played and has 487 career points. In addition to his time with Florida and Chicago, he has also played in the NHL with San Jose (2007-08) and Buffalo (1999-2008). He was originally selected in the sixth round (156th overall) of the 1997 NHL Draft by Buffalo.

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