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Panthers Spend Some Big Bucks, Get Brian Campbell for Rusty Olesz

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Just as it appeared the opening day of the NHL draft was going to be uneventful for the Panthers, Dale Tallon pulled off a big deal.

The Panthers confirmed early Saturday morning that they had acquired Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell -- who waived his no-trade clause to come to south.

The much maligned and oft-injured Rostislav Olesz went to Chicago in return.

Tallon said that the deal was not done and wouldn't comment on it further. Less than an hour later, it was.

“Nothing is official yet,'' Tallon said. “It's not official yet. It's in the works.''

With Campbell comes a huge contract, one that Tallon signed when he was general manager of the Blackhawks. Campbell, 32, is set to make $7.1 million in each of the next five seasons.

Olesz is also a highly paid player, with a cap hit of $3.1 million in each of the next three seasons. Olesz will actually make substantially more than that number – he'll be paid over $4 million in the final two years of the contract -- in real salary.

The Panthers need to spend around $30 million to reach the league-mandated salary cap floor this season. Getting Campbell on board goes a long way in fulfilling those obligations.

Campbell spent his first eight NHL seasons with Buffalo before being traded to San Jose in 2008 to help the Sharks' playoff run. Campbell then signed the large eight-year deal worth over $57 million with Tallon and the Blackhawks later that summer.

Some have said Campbell hasn't lived up to the big contract, scoring 19 goals with 108 assists. But he did help the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010 as he was strong throughout the postseason. Tallon seems to be of the mind that he would sign that contract again.

“He played 28 minutes a game, has offense, can skate the puck out of your zone, skate like the wind,'' Tallon said when asked what he liked about Campbell's game in 2008.

“He can skate all night long and a lot of teams don't have that. .-.-. Whatever market value is at that time, it was an important signing for the [Chicago] franchise. It told everyone in Chicago and in the league that the Blackhawks were making a commitment to win. That's what that statement was.''