Connect with us

Nashville Predators

Predators Could Lose Coveted College Prospect To Free Agency



Alex Campbell
Photo of Alex Campbell by Michael Gallagher/Nashville Hockey Now

It’s been more than four years since the Nashville Predators drafted Alex Campbell in the third round of the 2019 NHL Draft, and the 22-year-old forward remains unsigned with just months left before possibly hitting the open market.

NHL teams have until Aug. 15 to sign any drafted NCAA player in their final year of college eligibility. If they fail to do so, that player then becomes an unrestricted free agent and is free to sign with any team.

After three seasons at Clarkson University, where he totaled 34 goals and 76 points in 93 games, Campbell transferred to Northeastern University, the alma mater of former Predators GM David Poile, for his season where he’s teammates with another Predators draft pick, Gunnarwolfe Fontaine (seventh round, 2020).

Campbell leads the Huskies (9-12-2) with 13 goals, 62 shots, and four power-play goals, and he ranks second on the team with 24 points. He’s heated up down the stretch, scoring two goals in his last outing — a 4-1 win over Merrimack — and logging points in five of his last six games.

Northeastern has 11 more games left in the regular-season before the Hockey East Tournament kicks off on March 13. Should the Huskies qualify for the NCAA Tournament, they could possibly play into April.

Once his season is over, Campbell has to decide whether he wants to sign an entry-level contract with the Predators or let the clock run out and pick from the other 31 teams come mid-August. Locking him up for the next three seasons would only strengthen Nashville’s prospect pool, which was ranked No. 16 in the NHL over the summer by The Athletic.

There’s plenty to like about Campbell as a prospect. He’s an agile, puck-moving forward with fluid skating and excellent top-end speed. He’s also an accurate passer with a sneaky wrist shot who sees the ice well, and he’s dangerous on the rush with high a success rate on both zone entries and zone exits.

However, at 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds, Campbell is a bit undersized and there are concerns about his body holding up to the rigors of the NHL. Campbell gets pushed off the puck more frequently than scouts would like, and what he lacks in physicality he tries to make up for with his speed and shiftiness — sometimes to his detriment.

But make no mistake, Campbell is a bona-fide prospect who will have plenty of suitors if he and the Predators don’t agree to a contract.

Follow Michael Gallagher on X/Twitter @MGsports_