Steven Kampfer, D
September 24, 1988
Acquired from Anaheim for 2010 fourth-round pick (Justin Shugg- Carolina via Anaheim) , March, 2010
Signing status: Signed through 2013
Physical: It feels like deja vu all over again after banging out profiles on David Warsofsky, Andrew Bodnarchuk, but Kampfer is another undersized defender in Boston's system. Like Bodnarchuk, Kampfer is strong for his size and puts in an honest effort with his off-ice conditioning and strength training. Good skater with nice blend of speed and quickness. Moves well laterally and backwards. Likes to jump up into the play and has a separation gear that can get him past defenders when he sees an opening. Fine passer who can start the play up and out of his zone quickly. Possesses a nice shot; better with quick wrister or snap shot than he is firing a slap shot from the point. Good passer who sees the ice well and can get the puck out quickly. Like most defenders his size, he has his hands full when trying to move bigger, stronger forwards out from in front of his net or fighting for pucks along the walls. Chippy and rugged; adept at making contact in the open ice (as Michigan State's Corey Tropp can attest). Made a nice first impression in six games with Providence last spring, scoring a goal and three points while earning the distinction to most as the best of the team's late-season additions (Joe Colborne, Max Sauve). Positioning needs work, and he'll get that chance in Providence.
Intangibles: Had a strong senior season after struggling to make his mark in his first three collegiate campaigns. Has been involved in several ugly incidents both on and off the ice, but appears to have turned the corner (for more on the issues, see the link in the quotable section) and kept his nose clean as a senior. Has persevered despite several tough setbacks; the Bruins traded for him even after being well aware of his past. Seems to bring a maturity and understanding of his shortcomings, which is a good sign as he begins the first real phase of his pro career.
Boston Bruins 2010 Development Camp assessment
Kampfer was the defense version of Alexander Fallstrom at camp: he had a very good performance that didn't go unnoticed, but didn't generate a lot of attention, either. He's got nice wheels and you could see him taking advantage of openings to jump up into the play and bring the offense. Kampfer scored a nice goal on a long clearing pass from Tyler Seguin in one scrimmage, zooming up the left side of the ice, then making a nice oblique cut to his right before wiring a low wrister into the net.
Like Bodnarchuk, the odds for Kampfer are long, but he does bring the requisite skill level to make a run at an NHL job at some point. He looked good in his late-season audition with Providence, so it will be interesting to see how he performs over the course of a full season. College players often have trouble adjusting to the longer schedule and grind, so that may be Kampfer's biggest challenge as a rookie pro. The trade (originally drafted in the fourth round in 2007 by Anaheim- missed being eligible for the 2006 draft by 10 days) originally didn't look all that great on paper, but Kampfer has been better than advertised and is a player to watch this season.
“I think it helped me out a lot. I was excited to get out there, I was excited to sign with the Bruins. Going out there and playing with guys of that level and starting my development going forward was a big help.”- Steve Kampfer to B2010DW, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010
“I need to work on my defensive game. It was something that we talked about at the end of the year, just positioning, stickwork and just getting stronger in the corners and moving guys out of the way. Overall, I gotta get better in every aspect of the game, but those are the things I gotta keep working on.”- Steve Kampfer to B2010DW, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010
"It was a year of hell. With everything I went through, you take things for granted and you want to make sure you're not missing out on certain aspects of life and you're not taking things for granted. So when I came into this year, I was excited, I was happy to play hockey. It was a second chance to get back and play hockey, and I wanted to make it everything I could."- Steven Kampfer to Ann Arbor.com; March, 2010
Here's a link to a very good story by Jeff Arnold of Ann Arbor.com which chronicles Kampfer's college career and controversy that dogged him:
The Final Word
He's never been a point producer at any level, but Kampfer has the tools to be an NHL player eventually. How far he goes and whether he can get it done in the Boston organization remains to be seen, but he's been impressive in limited viewing since the team traded for him at the March deadline. He provides the Bruins with a more mature, pro-ready player to help Boston's farm team in Providence and gives them more of an emergency option as opposed to what they would have likely drafted in the June draft's fourth round.