GM: Campoli talks different than Niemi

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks and defenseman Chris Campoli have a date for arbitration on Aug. 3 but the sides continue to work toward avoiding it.

It's the same scenario that played out last summer when former Hawk Antti Niemi and the club could not strike a deal before an arbiter awarded Niemi $2.75 million. The Hawks said no thanks and Niemi became a free agent, leaving the team after winning the Stanley Cup. The Hawks got nothing for him.

Is general manager Stan Bowman more willing to explore a trade to avoid a similar fate with Campoli?

"Yeah, but we're not at that point yet," Bowman said Wednesday. "We still have a few weeks to go until the arbitration date. It's no different than any other player. There is a number they want, and there is a number we can afford. If they don't match they don't match. But we're not at that point yet."

Bowman does not believe Campoli's and Niemi's situations are similar.

"You can't compare the two situations," he said. "They were totally different, just because of what we went through last summer. We're not in that spot now."

Bowman re-iterated this is no different than most negotiations.

"We're working at it," Bowman said. "It takes two to make the deal. If we can come to an agreement we're going to get it done."