It was by unfortunate circumstance that led Kings goalie Jack Campbell back to Dallas, but he could appreciate the irony.
Campbell was a first-round pick by the Dallas Stars, the first goalie chosen in the 2010 draft, and spent six-plus seasons under their watch before he was traded to the Kings, where he toils for the Ontario Reign. He was called up Tuesday to back up Darcy Kuemper because Jonathan Quick is ineligible to play.
"My goal is to come back here eventually, so it's nice to be here today," Campbell said.
Campbell retains good memories of Dallas. He won the Calder Cup with their minor league team and made his NHL debut with the Stars. He since has played just one other NHL game, with the Kings, as he tries to make his way back to the level he's dreamed about.
Campbell has gradually reclaimed his career. He turned in a great training camp with the Kings and has gotten the attention of Quick.
"He competes," Quick said. "I think that's one of the most important things about a goalie is you've got to compete, and I think he does that really well. He's got a great game, I think. He had a great camp, and it's good to see him up."
Campbell said it was frustrating not being able to parlay his camp into a job. Kuemper was signed in the summer specifically to back up Quick, and something extraordinary would have to happen for that to change.
"Obviously Darcy's a heck of a goalie, and he's having a great year," Campbell said. "But I trained all summer and thought I was ready. I still feel ready to be up here. But it's just part of the process. I'm just waiting for my opportunity and take advantage when I get it."
Marian Gaborik took turns on the fourth line at the morning skate and stayed on the ice late for extra work, usually a sign that a player will be scratched that night.