98.5 The Sports Hub staff report
The Boston Bruins will be one defenseman short when they drop the puck on this summer restart, as Steven Kampfer has opted out of rejoining the team for their postseason run.
With the reopening of an accelerated training camp scheduled for Monday at Warrior Ice Arena, 31-year-old Kampfer took to Twitter early Saturday night to make the announcement.
“After speaking with my wife, family, and my agent I have decided that I am opting out of the return to play,” Kampfer tweeted. “This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. My wife and son have a congenital heart defect which can cause complications with COVID-19. We have taken this very seriously. Family will always be my priority.
“I will be rooting for my teammates and hope we can bring the Cup back to Boston. Everyone stay healthy and safe.”
Kampfer, who recorded two assists in 10 games with the Big B’s and nine points in 22 games with Providence during the regular season, was likely considered the No. 9 defenseman on the Black and Gold’s depth chart.
On his second tour of duty with the Bruins organization after being acquired from the Rangers in Sept. 2018, Kampfer has appeared in 45 games with the Bruins over the last two seasons, along with three postseason contests. Kampfer scored the first goal of Boston’s four-game series sweep over the Carolina Hurricanes in last year’s third-round matchup.
His absence will summon Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril up to Boston’s Phase 3 training camp as the team’s extra defensemen. The regular season paused with the Bruins boasting an eight-skater defense corps — Brandon Carlo, Zdeno Chara, Connor Clifton, Matt Grzelcyk, Torey Krug, Jeremy Lauzon, Charlie McAvoy, and John Moore — all on their roster.
Kampfer is not the only NHL player to opt out of the return thus far, as the Flames’ Travis Hamonic, Edmonton’s Mike Green, the Stars’ Roman Polak, and Vancouver’s Sven Baertschi have also declined to return to their respective clubs.
All players have until Monday to officially opt out of a return to play without any sort of penalty.
The Bruins will begin their three-game, round-robin tournament for postseason seeding on Aug. 2.