UFA Chris Campoli's name has been floating around the NHL rumor mill since late July ever since the Blackhawks walked away from a $2.5-million arbitration award for the 27- year-old defenseman.
He made $1.4 million last season, which is a fair price for a 4-17-21 in 77 games guy. Last week, his agent, Rich Evans, didn't answer my email inquiry about Campoli's status. The Post did connect with him a day ago, and Campoli's in play, although Evans said the Rangers had not contacted him in months and had no offers from any teams.
Can Campoli help? Sure. Especially with Marc Staal's health an issue. But the Rangers have less than $1.4 million in cap space, and would have to move some $$ to the minors or elsewhere. That's pretty tight.
Campoli would certainly be a stop-gap, especially with their top young defensemen (Michael Del Zotto and Tim Erixon in particular) in line for future jobs. Campoli also would have to be thrown right into the fire, without any training camp testing, significant practiceand with a large contingent of Rangers leaving Monday night for Europe, where they will play four exhibition games in five nights in four countries starting Thursday.
Coach John Tortorella has admitted the Rangers were looking for experienced defensive help for weeks, even before the Staal issue. He said they were seeing who might "leak" from other teams as camp cuts begin. I don't think anything's imminent with Campoli, but that could change. We'll see.
UPDATE: Brad Lukowich (35) and Shaone Morrisonn placed on waivers Saturday.