Weight: 188 Pounds
Date of birth: August 22, 2020
Hometown: Cranberry Township, PA
OHL Draft: Round 12, 224th overall, 2018 Priority Selection
NHL Central Scouting Rankings
|B Prospect||C Prospect||28 N.A.||
During his Ontario Hockey League draft season of 2017-2018, Erie Otters netminder Aidan Campbell manned the net for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite Under-15 squad in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League. He appeared in 21 games and posted a 2.14 goals-against-average and .929 save-percentage.
The Otters selected Campbell in the 12th round pick, 224th overall at the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Campbell was also selected at the 2018 United States Hockey League’s Future’s Draft in the 3rd round, 36th overall by the Sioux City Musketeers.
The 2018-2019 season saw Campbell play at 5 different levels, from High School Hockey to the USNTDP Jrs. in the USHL. That year was highlighted by his performance with the Penguins Under-16 squad in which he led the league with a .69 goals-against-average and .944 save-percentage and 8 shutouts in 28 games en-route to the league championship. He was even better at the National Championships leading his squad to a 2-1 victory over Yale while being outshot 27-11 in the championship game.
The 2019-2020 season was Campbell’s rookie campaign in the OHL and his NHL draft year. He appeared in 26 games with a 10-8-1-4 record, 3.65 goals-against-average and .872 save-percentage. Not exactly eye-popping numbers but it is the norm for a rookie goaltender on a squad that could have missed the playoffs had the season not ended because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The first thing you notice when Campbell skates out for the pregame warmup is the enormous 6’5” frame. And we know how much NHL scouts drool over that size, although smaller goaltenders are making somewhat of a comeback and being showing some success.
In the crease you notice that Campbell plays with a high level of determination and focus. He is mentally strong and doesn’t get rattled. His mentality allows him to move on and get set quickly for the next chance. When you talk to those around the Otters’ organization, it’s that focus that they mention first.
Among the 31 goaltenders NHL Central Scouting has on their North American final rankings – which includes 8 draft re-entries – Campbell’s August 22 birthdate makes him the 3rd youngest goaltender ranked for the draft behind Grant Riley (August 28th – NAHL) and Brett Brochu (September 9th – OHL). That means that Campbell lacks behind most of the others in terms of experience and development.
As mentioned, the size is there and he does a good job at taking away a lot of the net by keeping himself big. For the most part he shows very good technique but that could use some tweaking, and as I’ve said a thousand times, good coaching will help him with that.
Campbell could also improve on his movement in the blue paint. I don’t think his size hinders him in any way when it comes to movement, I think it’ll come down to tweaking or adjusting his movement.
Campbell does well with his angles, tracking the puck and seeing through traffic – a benefit of being a large goaltender. He also does well with those battles in front of his net, taking away the bottom of his goal while also remaining tall to take away the top portion. He has also shown that he won’t chase the puck and rather rely on his positioning and let the puck hit him.
Campbell displays a lot of confidence in his abilities and is determined to put in the effort necessary to compete – something he has done extremely well at every level. This isn’t a particularly strong draft class for goaltenders, and we’re seeing more goaltenders going into a second draft season so I will be curious to see if scouts have enough on Campbell this time around.