A few weeks ago when the Panthers were acting like kids playing keepaway on an outdoor skating rink in Manhattan's Central Park, no one was having more fun or more success than red-headed defenseman Brian Campbell.

Campbell always looks like he's out for an afternoon skate in the park, but similar to all great point guards in basketball, he makes everyone around him better with his hockey IQ, skating prowess, vision and passing skills.

"Every time he steps on the ice it doesn't seem as if he's trying so much because it's so easy for him, but I know a lot of hard work was behind it,'' Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky said Wednesday, who along with teammate Kris Versteeg played with Campbell on the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup championship team two seasons ago.

"It's like he's got eyes behind the back of his head. He has the best vision to read the game and anticipate where the players are going to be.''

Campbell, 32, was acquired from the Blackhawks last summer for underachieving Rostislav Olesz in what was perceived as a salary dump for both teams. However, Campbell has proven to be worth every cent of his remaining five-year, $35.7 million contract that Panthers GM Dale Tallon gave him when he was running the Hawks.

Campbell notched three assists in Tuesday's 5-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs (his fourth 3-assist game of the season), giving him 27 helpers to go with 30 points in just 37 games. Campbell has had a hand in nearly 33 percent of Florida's 93 goals (excluding four empty-netters) and has already surpassed his 2010-11 output of 27 points in 65 games with Chicago.

Campbell is tied for third in the NHL in assists and is three points behind the league's leading defenseman Erik Karlsson of Ottawa. He's the fulcrum on the first-place Panthers' ninth-ranked power play, leading the league with 17 power-play assists.