There are worse ways for a first-year pro to finish his season than practicing and sitting as a healthy scratch for the eventual Stanley Cup champions.
So while an injury suffered during a minor-league conditioning stint cost Steve Kampfer his chance to contribute to the Bruins’ cause in the postseason, he couldn’t have asked for a better experience to cap his rookie season.
After the briefest of stints with the Providence (AHL) farm club to start the season, Kampfer came up and provided the Bruins with a confident puck-moving element they lacked until the league began to catch up to him and the rigors of the NHL slowed him down.
Still the future looks bright for Kampfer, who figures to make a hard push for a regular job in the top six next season.
Regular season: 38 GP, 5-5-10, plus-9
Contract status: Signed through 2012-13 at a cap hit of $852,000
Best regular-season moment: With just 1:14 left in regulation, Kampfer’s goal put the Bruins ahead for good in a wild, 7-5 victory of Philadelphia at the Garden. The game also featured Kampfer unloading on a big hit on Scott Hartnell at the Boston blue line.
Best playoff moment: While an injury with Providence on April 29 cost Kampfer a chance to fill in when Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid both had to miss games during the first two rounds of the playoffs, Kampfer was cleared to play in time for the Tampa Bay series and was able to practice hard during the last two rounds.
Worst moment: Technically, that injury, which proved to be a season-ender, was Kampfer’s low point. But things started to go a little southward when on March 17 Kampfer made a couple miscues in an overtime loss at Nashville. He fell into the net and blocked Tuukka Rask’s chance to stop the Predators’ game-tying goal. And then his unnecessary holding penalty on Mike Fisher set the Preds up for a power-play goal in the extra session.
Regular-season grade: B-minus
Playoff grade: N/A
Carnac predicts … Kampfer will be in the thick of a battle for a top-six spot next season. Sometimes young defensemen need more seasoning, but Kampfer has proven to a be quick study so far.