The Buffalo Sabres drafted Ottawa 67's defenseman Brian Campbell 156th overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. Just two years later, Campbell, who scored 87 points in 62 games in his final year of junior was named the OHL's Top Defenseman, its MVP and the CHL's Major Junior Player of the Year. That same year he helped lead his team to a Memorial Cup Championship and was named the tournament's Most Sportsmanlike Player.
The Sabres now knew they had something special on their hands and Campbell joined their farm team for two playoff contests following his Memorial Cup triumph. The next next two seasons were spent primarily with their minor league affiliate in the AHL, the Rochester Americans, though he did join the Sabres for 20 games as a call-up.
In 2001-02 the Sabres were a team in transition with captain Mike Peca traded to the New York Islanders and franchise player Dominik Hasek dispatched to the Detroit Red Wings. Campbell was able to play 29 games on the Buffalo blue line and chipped in three goals and six points. The time he spent back with Rochester also saw him improve his offensive output by scoring 37 points in 45 games before joining the Sabres on a full time basis in 2002-03.
After his breakout season with the Sabres in 2005-06, Campbell's popularity grew across the league as he led all Eastern Conference defenceman in All-Star voting. As a result, Campbell started in his first NHL All-Star game. That season Capbell recorded a career high 48 points and helped the Sabers win the Presidents Trophy in 2006-07. A year later, with Campbell set to become an unrestricted free agent, the Buffalo Sabres opted to trade him to the San Jose Sharks for forward Steve Bernier and a first-round draft pick.
As a member of the San Jose Sharks, Campbell appeared in 20 games and helped start the Sharks' offensive rushes. Despite his influence to his new club, the Sharks were eliminated in playoffs by the Dallas Stars in the second round.
On July 1, 2008, Campbell signed an 8 year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks for roughly 7.1 million dollars a year.
Despite an injury suffered at the hands of Alexander Ovechkin that limited Campbell to just 68 regular season games and 19 playoff games, the 2009-10 season would end triumphantly for Campbell and the Blackhawks when they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in six games to capture the club's first Stanley Cup championship since 1961.
On June 24, 2011, Campbell's time in Chicago would come to an end. He was traded to the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Rostislav Olesz.
In his first season in the "Sunshine State" Campbell accomplished what no defenceman in over half a century had been able to do. He was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, presented to the player who best combines sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.
After five seasons in Florida, Campbell was an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016. On July 1, he inked a deal to re-join the Chicago Blackhawks.