New Sen a happy Campoli

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

Maybe Chris Campoli and the Senators will be a match for which both have been looking.

It was certainly curious to see a 24-year-old defenceman with skill and promise traded by a team that is perpetually rebuilding.

The Islanders dealt Campoli and veteran centre Mike Comrie to the Senators Friday for the Sharks' first-round pick and forward Dean McAmmond, who wasn't happy with his lot in Ottawa.

Campoli, who had two assists in his Senators debut Saturday, had become increasingly disillusioned under Isles coach Scott Gordon.

The signing of offensive defenceman Mark Streit in the off-season hurt Campoli's opportunities, taking away front-line time on the power play. With Gordon also favouring forward Doug Weight on the point (until he was injured recently), Campoli found his role further diminished.

That led to a meeting with GM Garth Snow a month ago.

"We had a conversation about moving on somewhere else," said Campoli, a native of North York who was drafted 227th overall in 2004 off the Erie Otters of the OHL.

The result was Campoli asking for a trade. Both he and Snow agreed that would probably be best.

"I wasn't really surprised (by the trade)," said Campoli. "I knew Ottawa was looking for a puck-mover. I can fill the void of a puck-mover."

Campoli had a strong rookie season in 2005-06 with nine goals and 25 assists in 80 games. He had a goal and 13 assists in 51 games with the Isles the next season. Last season, he had four goals and 14 assists in 46 games before season-ending shoulder surgery in January.

Gordon told Newsday he was disappointed Campoli didn't thrive in his system, which encourages defencemen to get offensive.

"I liked Chris as a player. I think he does fit in," said Gordon. "I just had a conversation with Mark Streit about, 'Have you played for a team that gives you the green light to go all the time as an offensive defenceman as much as you're allowed to here?' He said, 'No.' It's the same thing for Chris."

Campoli might have read the writing when Weight went down and Gordon turned to rookie forward Kyle Okposo to man the point on the power play alongside Streit.

Campoli sounded like a guy happy to get off the Island and into Ottawa.

"It's really exciting to play in a place where hockey is everything," he said before the Senators lost 5-3 to the Canadiens Saturday. "The attention is going to be crazy. I've never been a part of this. I've never played on Hockey Night in Canada and here I am on Hockey Day in Canada."

Hear and there

The Senators' three-game skid has pushed them back to 15 points out of a playoff spot. With 24 games left, they have the potential for 101 points. The cutoff point for the playoffs is probably going to be about 94, which means four regulation losses becomes their "tragic number." ... The Senators kick off an eight-game homestand tomorrow night vs. the Hurricanes and play 11 of their next 13 at Scotiabank Place.


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