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The Stockholm Five

A review of the Vikings' fuzzy goalie history

part 3 of 3


When the dust settled, the Vikings were left with just one goalie. Callum Sinclair was not enticing enough, and Coca Cola was not impressive enough. Jax Barnstormer was more committed to a team that wasn't paying him, and Hans Wingate didn't become a possibility until the decision was already made. Blake Campbell was the remaining goalie prospect; he was the Vikings pick. They put their trust in him to be the one to bring them to the promised land. Ever since he was drafted, it was his spot to lose. Thus far, at least, he has made no signs that suggest he will be losing that spot. Here is the story of where Campbell has been since the team drafted him and how he has worked into Stockholm's plans.


The Draft and Brief Aftermath

The Vikings held several six picks in the mid-late first and early second rounds of the Season 43 draft. With Helsinki owning the seventh overall pick, there was essentially one team from stopping Stockholm from getting Campbell. At the time when the Titans opted to select George Patton instead, Campbell, selected immediately following at eight by Stockholm, was the team's second goalie prospect. They later added Jax Barnstormer in the draft to create the initial goalie controversy.


Immediately the team began looking at all the possibilities. Of course they could not make long-term plans involving more than one of the goalies. They were in a spot where they had to make a big decision, and they had to make sure they handled each players properly as well. Barnstormer was never really a part of the plan, but both Cola and Campbell seemed to have potential. As Season 42 went on, it became increasingly evident that of those two, Campbell was the only proper choice.




Season 42 Performance

While Barnstormer was in the VHL as Stockholm's backup, both Campbell and Cola spent there time in the VHLM, finishing first and second, respectively, in wins. Campbell and the Brampton Blades were the best team in the league, followed closely by Cola and the Oslo Storm. The teams met in the finals, where the Blades proved victorious. Campbell, however, was not actually a very integral part to their success and was outplayed by Cola in both the regular season and playoffs.


With just a 0.910 regular season save percentage, Campbell was fourth in the league. For a goalie who was expected to be the face of a franchise in the future, he placed surprisingly low. Cola, meanwhile, led the league. Yet Campbell always looked more dedicated to improve. His ceiling was much higher, he just had further to go to reach that. Additionally, Cola had already spent a couple seasons in the VHL, Campbell did not prove to be clutch in the playoffs either. Despite an 8-4 record en route to a Founder's Cup, he had a lackluster 0.891 save percentage.




The Wingate Conundrum

The Vikings won the Season 43 draft lottery. Given Campbell's poor performance the previous season, one could understand the temptation to trade him and select Hans Wingate first overall. A year younger, he already looked like a better player than Campbell. His skills were more impressive, and all the scouts agreed that he had a higher ceiling.


But the Vikings had already made plans to trade the pick to New York. It was in this trade that they also removed Barnstormer from the equation. Wingate, however, was still a real possibility, with both the second overall pick being made available for trade. Stockholm and Riga did have discussions about the pick, and a deal did come somewhat close to being made. However, Campbell was still the man in Stockholm, and the Vikings were not looking at drafting Wingate if they were to acquire that pick.


In actuality, Campbell's poor performance in Season 42 did not make him shine any less brightly in the eyes of Stockholm's management. They knew what they had in him, and they liked what they had. Yes, there were creeping thoughts of what Wingate would mean for the team, but as real as that could have been, the Vikings never really wavered in their support for Campbell.




Season 43 and the Future

Campbell played his rookie season as the backup to rental retiree Brick Wahl. When he did get to play, Campbell was stellar. He made 21 starts and finished the seasons with a 19-1-1 record. He recorded eight shutouts and had a 0.930 save percentage. He was typically put in against the lesser teams in the league, but the numbers he put up are good nonetheless. He might receive some consideration for the Christian Stolzschweiger Trophy, but it is unlikely that much of it will be serious. He was arguably the most impressive goalie, but he simply didn't play enough.


Beginning in Season 44, the starting goalie spot will belong to Campbell. He has verbally committed himself to the team long-term, and it would not be a surprise at all if he were to sign a long-term contract this off-season. With several of the top goalies in the league retiring, the door is open for Campbell to shine among his peers. He will be tested in ways that he wasn't this season. There is no worry about how good he will be in Stockholm, though. The Vikings are confident that Campbell will make them forget about all those other guys they could have had instead.

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Content: 3/3 - This was a great read about the goaltending situation in Stockholm. I liked all the behind the scenes knowledge coming out about the debates, possible trades and the what if's. Campbell will probably be one of the best goalies in the league fairly soon with all the old guys retiring and a wave of new ones coming soon. Stockholm are set in goal for awhile! 

Grammar:  2/2 - Solid.

he has made no signs that suggest he will be losing that spot = he has shown no signs that suggests he will be losing that spot (I think this reads better. made no signs read weird to me)

spent there time in the VHLM = spent their time in the VHLM

Appearance: 1/1 - Looks Good!

Overall: 6/6

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