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What Does Jack Campbell's Next Contract Look Like?

How much will Jack Campbell make on his next contract? Looking at his market value, comparables, and importance to the Toronto Maple Leafs might offer a clue.
Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell is about to become a very rich man. 

Campbell has undergone a meteoric rise in his age-30 season, reaching the halfway point of the 2021-22 campaign sitting third the entire NHL in save percentage and goals-saved-above-average, sixth in goals-against-average, third in goals-allowed-adjusted, and fourth in goalie point share. 

No matter how you slice it, Campbell has been one of, if not the, best goaltenders in hockey this season, earning his first-ever All-Star nod last week and all but wrapping up his team's MVP award before Groundhog Day. 

The hitch in the giddy-up for the Maple Leafs here, though, is that Campbell is a free agent at year's end and needs a new, and likely very pricey, contract. 

What could that look like? Well, there are a few things to consider when it comes to determining what Toronto's most affable netminder could make.

Let's take a look at them. 

Open Market Value

Like any 30-year-old hitting the dating pool for the first time in a decade, Campbell's value will be judged by looking at what else is out there. And while the dating world usually consists of a bunch of middle-aged dudes who follow accounts like '@Alpha.Inspo.Daily' and wear Oakley sunglasses behind their head, Campbell is similarly surrounded by a 2022 UFA goalie class in which he is perhaps the most attractive long-term option. 

One would assume that reigning Vezina winner and future Hall of Famer Marc-Andre Fleury is the only netminder ahead of Campbell in terms of earning potential. But Fleury's age and career timeline almost certainly make him a one or two-year rental for a contender -- with Campbell seeking a longer pact. 

Take Fleury out of the mix, and Campbell's competition on the open markets are the likes of Darcy Kuemper, Joonas Korpisalo, Pavel Francouz, and Martin Jones. 

It's not even close. 

Campbell has better overall numbers than any of those names since arriving in Toronto in February of 2020, with all but Korpisalo being at least two years older than him, therein making him the belle of the free agency ball. In that case, Campbell's deal will likely be what sets the market for those behind him, affording the former first-rounder the leverage to ask for the moon coming off a career year that might just end with a Vezina nomination. 

Advantage: Jack. 

Comparables

So, we've established that the market is leaning in Campbell's favor. 

But what about precedent? How have goaltenders with similar experience and production to Campbell's fared when negotiating their new deals? 

Well, at the moment of publication, Campbell has 115 career games played with a .920 save percentage. That's his resume. And the three netminders that seem to fit these criteria and have also recently signed extensions appear to be Jordan Binnington, Linus Ullmark, and Cal Petersen. 

Let's tackle Binnington first. 

When everyone's favorite Angry Boy™ signed with the Blues for six years at a $6 million AAV in March of 2021, he'd played almost exactly the same number of games as Campbell has. And yet, the 28-year-old currently sits with a .913 save percentage career save percentage across 147 regular-season games that pales in comparison to Campbell's, albeit with Binnington's performance in the 2019 playoffs en route to an eventual Stanley Cup victory being the lone accolade that seems to separate the bargaining power between the two. 

Still, at the time of signing, Binnington earned a $6 million annual paycheck with worse results than Campbell put forth over nearly an identical sample size. Of course, the Cup ring is the true variable in all of this. But when looking strictly at the numbers, Campbell seems to be in a position to ask for more than the Blues gave Binnington. 

Then there are Ullmark and Petersen, whose deals each offers a useful comparable without the championship hardware. 

Both netminders inked deals over the summer that will pay them $5 million per year -- Ullmark's coming in at five years while Petersen was given three. 

When he signed with the Bruins back in July, Ullmark had played just two more games than Campbell has at this very moment, and also happened to be coming off a season in which he somehow put up a .917 save percentage behind a Buffalo Sabres roster that will go down among the worst of the modern era. 

Campbell, at least, has the benefit of playing for a contender, and will also be three years older than Ullmark was at the time of signing.

So, when judging the comparables, it would seem that Binnington establishes something close to the ceiling of Campbell's reasonable asking price, while Ullmark represents the floor. 

Petersen, on the other hand, is just a wild card, with the 27-year-old locking down a $5 million AAV after just 54 career games and a save percentage lower than Campbell's is right now. 

In that case, Campbell could theoretically argue that he's worth more than Petersen and be absolutely right. Only, the difference is that the Kings gave Petersen a three-year commitment worthy of a bridge deal, clearly betting on future performance rather than establishing their asset's value based on what he's already done. 

Campbell does not have that luxury, with his current performance likely representing the peak of what he'll offer moving forward. 

Team Need

Campbell can gauge his value on the open market all he wants, but his true source of leverage lies in Toronto. 

The Maple Leafs need Campbell. Full stop. 

Sure, Petr Mrazek is locked in until 2025 at a $3.8 million price tag, but the 29-year-old's injury troubles have cast his future with the team in doubt, allowing Campbell to emerge as the undisputed top option in the crease. 

If Campbell were to leave, however...well, that would be a problem. 

The Maple Leafs don't have many viable options behind their NHL starters to fill the void -- or, perhaps more importantly, afford them leverage. 

Joseph Woll flashed some promise in his four-game audition earlier this season. But the 23-year-old still has some developing to do before becoming an NHL netminder and was only thrust into action due to injuries. After Woll, there really isn't much else to go on. Erik Kallgren is still acclimatizing to the North American game, Ian Scott hasn't played in over two years, and, as established previously, any free agent signing the Leafs could make likely won't match the results of Campbell. 

At a time when the Leafs need success perhaps more desperately than any other team in the NHL, Campbell is far and away the best option to help give it to them. 

And that fact alone is going to cost them a decent chunk of change. 

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