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Top-25 off-season questions - #16 - Jessica Campbell

June 29, 2022, 7:04 AM ET [321 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
With the draft a week or so away and free agency looming thereafter, we continue with the top-25 off-season questions. I have updated the list below, taking into account some suggestions and comments from the prior blogs, and we are now up 17 topics. This column discusses question 16: What does Jessica Campbell bring to the table and how important is her hiring?

25 Questions:
In almost every year past, we have done some version of the top 20 or so off-season questions. To state the obvious and what should be remembered by many, we usually have entered the late-spring and summer with more questions than answers. This year may be no different, despite what looks to be settled on the team. As done in year's past, I throw this one to you, asking for you to provide your questions, which I will incorporate in the blogs to carry us through the summer.

1) Will Ryan Strome or Andrew Copp be re-signed, and if one is to be brought back, which one do you prefer?
2) Would you deal Kakko Kappo for a second or third line center and do you want that to be Kirby Dach?
3) Is Filip Chytil a center or a winger?
4) Did Alexis Lafreniere show enough to be moved to the top-six and do you view him as a first line right winger?
5) Would you buy out Patrik Nemeth or what would you package him with to free up his $2.5 million salary this year (and next)?
6) Who are you adding as Igor Shesterkin's back up once Alexandar Georgiev is moved? Can Keith Kinkaid and/or Adam Huska fill that spot? Do you add a veteran like Braden Holtby for $1 million?
7) Should New York add a veteran blueliner or try Nils Lundkvist or Zac Jones or Matthew Robertson as the sixth d-man? Would the wiser course of action to do both?
8) Is Vitali Kravtsov part of the future and will he be brought back to the US? (Covered in prior blog)
9) Would and should the Rangers really consider dealing Artemi Panarin as Arthur Staple hinted at in his column?
10) Will Brennan Othmann and/or Will Cuylle be given a REAL chance to make the squad this summer or will the Rangers opt to not rush the youngsters? Both are on their ELCs and are listed as LW. If they do make the roster, then who gets moved out?(TommyGTrain)
11) Are the Rangers built to compete against Colorado for the Stanley Cup?
12) Is Gerald Gallant the right coach for this team moving forward?
13) How do you want the third and/94 fourth lines to look? Do they need to be a traditional bottom-six or should the third line be more of a scoring line?
14) Should New York consider buying out the final season of Ryan Reaves’ deal? (Factors include cap savings for this year and small amount of dead cap space in 2023-24)
15) Is acquiring Jonathan Toews under strong consideration by New York?
16) What does Jessica Campbell bring to the table and how important is her hiring?
17) Will Theo Fleury and Pat Verbeek make the Hall of Fame and what does their absence tell us about the voting process?
More to come

Mollie Walker of the NY Post had a nice profile on Campbell, whose appearance at the team’s developmental camp was reported a week or so ago. As you will or may have read and see below, her back grainy doesn’t is rather impressive. More impressive will hopefully be what she brings to the organization.

Walker goes though Campbell’s background. She played at Cornell and won a silver medal with Team Canada in the women’s World Championships in 2015. Campbell then joined the USHL’s Tri-City Storm development program, and spearheaded the Windy City Storm Girl’s Hockey program in Chicago this past season. She also served as an assistant coach and skills coach for the Deutsche Eishockey Liga’s (DEL) Nurnberg Ice Tigers. Campbell then became the first woman to serve on the coaching staff of a national team, participating in the IIHF Men’s World Championship with Germany this spring. Now, she is working to establish herself as a team coach at the professional level — and her next step will be as a coach for the New York Rangers’ 2022 development camp from July 11-15.

To me, this was the key paragraph in the column. The bolded the main takeaway. The names with whom she has worked gives credence to her possible impact.

Campbell’s Redhawks cameo was the end of her playing days. <>Her primary business became power skating and skill development. In the past few offseasons, Campbell has worked with several NHL players — including the Islanders’ Mat Barzal, the Canadiens’ Shea Weber and the Predators’ Dante Fabbro — in four-to-eight week development programs.

We all have noted the need on this team for better foot speed. In fact, we pretty much have been clamoring for the organization to bring a skating coach in to work with players like Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko and others. Years ago, Barb Underhill - who has been with Tampa the past several seasons - filled that role, helping Brian Boyle. Laf spoke about working on his skating at the year-end break up meetings. We know Kakko needs to get quicker and working on that skill is something every player should be doing.

Now, at least at camp, the Rangers will have someone in Campbell who fills that role. If she shows even the smallest amount of aptitude or ability to make the players faster or improve their skills, New York needs to sign her to be a full-time coach. Having an in-house option, especially one who has worked with Barzal, whose skating is one of her best aspects, should be audience enough for that call to be made.

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