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Blackhawks escape Brian Campbell contract thanks to Panthers

ST. PAUL — Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said he received a lot of interest in Brian Campbell(notes), the team's 32-year-old offensive defenseman. That's despite his entering the fourth year of an 8-year, $57.1 million contract he signed with Chicago in 2008, a contract considered to be one of the League's most egregious salary cap albatrosses.

The general manager who inked him? Dale Tallon, now the GM for the Florida Panthers, a.k.a. Brian Campbell's new home.

Campbell agreed to waive his no-trade clause and was sent to the Panthers in exchange for forward Rostislav Olesz(notes) on Friday night, via TSN.

After the first round was complete, Bowman said the trade was "in process," but stopped short of calling it a done deal. He declined to specify when Campbell was asked to waive his no-trade clause.

"We've worked hard over the last week or so to determine the teams that had the most interest to get the most value," said Bowman.

From George Richards from On Frozen Pond:

With Campbell comes a huge contract, one that Tallon signed when he was general manager of the Blackhawks. Campbell, 32, is set to make $7.1 million in each of the next five seasons.

Olesz is also a highly paid player, with a cap hit of $3.1 million in each of the next three seasons. Olesz will actually make substantially more than that number — he'll be paid over $4 million in the final two years of the contract -- in real salary.

The Panthers need to spend around $30 million to reach the league-mandated salary cap floor this season. Getting Campbell on board goes a long way in fulfilling those obligations.

Campbell's move leaves the Blackhawks with four defensemen and John Scott(notes) under contract, with Chris Campoli(notes) a restricted free agent. According to Cap Geek, the Blackhawks would have $14 million open under the $64.3 million cap.

"Whenever you have salary cap flexibility, you can go a few ways with it. You can acquire players that are signed already. Or you can go to the free agent market on July 1," said Bowman.

"It gives us the option to do different things. Certainly, it's going to be a departure from the last year when it was a stranglehold all year with our ability to do things."

All because they found someone nutty enough to take on Campbell's diminishing offensive numbers and $7,142,875 annual cap hit.

Namely, the guy who was nutty enough to give it to him in the first place.

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