NHL 2010 Top Draft Prospects: Jack Campbell

Here’s a riddle: When you’re a goalie with great stats, but not getting noticed, what’s the best way to life up scouts’ heads?

Answer: Step in as a backup goaltender at the World Juniors and completely shut down the five-time defending world champions.

That’s just what US National Team goaltender Jack Campbell did. And head-lifting he did.

“Most goaltenders thrown into a gold medal game would step in nervous and not want to see a lot of shots, but Jack wanted to see very puck come his way so he could gain control of the game,” one scout said to NHL.com. “He was down when he didn’t get to start, but he was able to focus on the moment and stay prepared in case a chance came his way.”

Campbell, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound goaltender from Port Huron, Michigan, stepped into the gold medal game of the 2010 World Junior championships, led his team to overtime, then watched as his teammate John Carlson scored the game-winner to clinch the trophy for the United States. He is one of the most highly-touted U.S. junior goaltender since Rick DiPietro in 2000.

“Campbell has a few things everybody likes to see in a goaltender,” another scout said to the NHL. “He’s very athletic and he’s a real battler who never gives up on any shots.

“I knew the type of goalie he was. I knew he was a great competitor with athletic ability. To step into that scene (at World Juniors) for as young as he was and perform the way he did is something special. He didn’t look out of place and didn’t look nervous. He fit right in and that’s a rare occurrence for a player his age on that stage.”

Campbell, who has committed to Michigan State for the 2010-11 season, knows he is being scouted by many teams and is confident of his draft status.

“I’ll be a high-end pick in the 2010 draft,” Campbell said in an interview with NHL.com, “So It really depends on what the NHL team wants me to do [regarding the 2010-11 season].”

However, Campbell knows what he wants to do.

“The only thing I can say is I’m loyal to Michigan. I want to be in a Michigan jersey.

“For me, playing near my hometown of Port Huron was a big thing, so my family who supported me all these years could see me play. I was a State fan growing up. My dad attended Michigan State and my cousin, Marshall Campbell, played football there.”

Alan Bass is a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com. In addition to writing for Inside Hockey and Pro Hockey News, he has also worked for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College hockey team as well. You can contact him at BergHockey24@gmail.com.

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