KEN CAMPBELL The Hockey News
Colin Campbell joining the Maple Leafs as GM would come as little surprise. In fact, it has been speculated several times that Campbell has spoken to Maple Leaf management about the possibility at least twice in the past. If the Leafs were to relieve John Ferguson of his duties, it says here that it would be a huge mistake to hire someone as a GM who has no real experience running any aspect of hockey operations for an NHL organization. Instead of the same tired names we keep hearing, why hasn't anyone ever hired David Conte, Jim Nill or Sheldon Ferguson? All three of them have one thing in common. They all come from very strong scouting backgrounds and all have an uncanny ability to evaluate talent and place an appropriate value on it, something that has proven to be hugely important in the new NHL. Ferguson, Sheldon that is, was once a final candidate for the Calgary Flames and Nill received a cursory interview prior to the Leafs hiring John Ferguson. Conte, meanwhile, has never had a sniff from an NHL team, in large part because he comes off as rather abrasive and self-absorbed. Might have something to do with the fact that he was integral in building three Stanley Cup champions. People such as Conte, Nill and Sheldon Ferguson have earned the right to fail. It would be difficult to get Nill, however. The Red Wings recently gave him a five-year contract extension that pays him a reported $600,000 (U.S.) per year, more than some GMs already make.