Ex-Bruin Steven Kampfer Explains Why He’s Leaving NHL For Russia

Kampfer will play for Ak Bars Kazan next season


Jul 12, 2021

Steven Kampfer has been a fine NHL player for the role he’s served.

But he’s now ready to try a different opportunity.

Kampfer, a journeyman defenseman who spent the last three seasons with the Boston Bruins, is off to Russia’s KHL, where he’ll play Ak Bars Kazan. With 231 NHL games to his name across nine seasons, Kampfer has very rarely been an everyday player. Instead, much of his time in the NHL has been spent either as the last man in the lineup or first guy out.

It’s not an easy job, and one the Bruins have to fill. But for Kampfer, who will make more money in the KHL, it was time.

“I’m 32,” Kampfer told The Boston Globe’s Matt Porter. “I’ve been in the 7-8 role for six, seven years now. I would love to play in the NHL. I would love to play every night there. But you have to look at it realistically. There are a lot of young kids coming who are very good, who organizations want to play.”

Indeed, Kampfer, wherever he went, was likely destined for that role. Teams love having guys like him, who arrive on cheap deals and are a steady hand when they need someone to play in a pinch. But for the player, it can be exhausting. They make less money than most of their teammates, practice and travel with the team but with no promise of getting any playing time.

That is more or less the reason Par Lindholm left the Bruins this past season. Coincidentally, the Swede just signed a deal with Ak Bars Kazan, as well, so there will be a familiar face in Russia.

If the money and playing opportunities are better, and it sounds like they are, then it seems like Kampfer made the right decision for himself and family.

Thumbnail photo via Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports Images
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