Ken Campbell

Ken Campbell, The Hockey News' senior writer, is in his second tour with the brand after an eight-year stint as a beat reporter for the Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star. The Sudbury native once tried out for the Ontario League's Wolves as a 30-year-old. Needless to say, it didn't work out.

Calling possible expansion teams: David Conte is available

Ken Campbell
David Conte (left) and Lou Lamoriello (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

If there were ever any question about how much real power Ray Shero will wield in the New Jersey Devils front office, it was answered emphatically Thursday afternoon when the Devils announced they would not be renewing the contract of director of scouting David Conte.

Because Conte was far more than just a scout with the Devils. First of all, he’s worked for the team for 31 years. But more than that, he was Lamoriello’s right-hand man and most trusted advisor on hockey matters. With Lamoriello being moved to the presidency and Shero brought in to be GM, there were still those who wondered whether the large presence of Lamoriello would be hovering over Shero and the hockey department.

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NHL likely to have at least two expansion bids from Seattle

Ken Campbell
Bill Daly (left) and Gary Bettman (Photo by Kevin Light/NHLI via Getty Images)

Just days after officially opening its expansion sweepstakes, the NHL has received five requests for expansion bid applications. Las Vegas, Quebec City and the Greater Toronto Area are in the mix as expected, but what might surprise some observers is its believed there are two competing bids from Seattle.

A source indicated that Victor Coleman, a Los Angeles-based real estate developer and native of Vancouver, has definitely requested a bid package and intends to apply by the July 20 deadline. The other Seattle bid is believed to be coming from Connecticut investment banker Ray Bartoszek. And if that weren’t enough, there are apparently two groups looking at the possibility of building an arena in the affluent suburb of Bellevue, which is across Lake Washington from Seattle.

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Watch Connor McDavid score five goals in Oilers rookie scrimmage

Ken Campbell
Connor McDavid  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

It appears the Edmonton Oilers might just have something in this Connor McDavid kid. And if first impressions are any indication, Edmonton’s long wait for an offensive superstar could be over. Soon. As in this coming season.

Yes, it was a scrimmage, played 4-on-4 for most of the game and even 3-on-3 at times, and it was against NHL wannabes, but the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft put on a show at the Billy Moores Cup, the final intrasquad scrimmage of the Oilers six-day prospect development camp Monday night. McDavid scored five goals in the game to lead his team to an 8-6 win in the game.

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Meet your 2019 Stanley Cup champs…the Winnipeg Jets

Ken Campbell
Jets

All right, let’s get one thing out of the way. It gets cold in Winnipeg. Ten months of winter and two months of bad skating. Heh-heh. The day this piece was written in mid-February, it was forecasted to go down to minus-38. Don’t bother with the Celsius to Fahrenheit calculations. When it’s that cold, they’re pretty much the same.

There are bigger cities in the NHL (about 25 of them) that play in bigger arenas (about 29). There are other places where a star can slide right under the radar if he wants. There are places with lower taxes and places where your Bentley won’t get wrecked by road salt. There are places with a few more entertainment options. Read more

Edmonton big winner, insanity big loser in Free Agent Frenzy

Andrej Sekera  (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

The same day Connor McDavid wore his Edmonton Oiler colors for the first time ever on the ice, his bosses were upstairs going about the process of giving him some legitimate NHL players to surround him.

It’s difficult, nay impossible, to declare the winners and losers of a free agent frenzy day before Canada Day has even included, but it’s difficult to not get excited about what’s going on in western Canada these days. The oil patch has been sucked dry of good hockey for so long that sometimes it looked as though neither the Oilers nor the Calgary Flames were ever going to get it right.

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Red Wings hoping for more of the same from Brad Richards

Ken Campbell
Brad Richards (right) and Duncan Keith  (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s safe to say things turned out probably better than both Brad Richards and the Chicago Blackhawks could have imagined last season and the Detroit Red Wings are banking on a repeat performance, both for Richards and the team.

Richards, who was thought to be on his last stop when he signed for just $2 million with the Blackhawks last summer, earned himself at least a $1 million dollar raise on his new deal, a deal that will escalate to a total of $4 million if the Red Wings advance to the Eastern Conference final in 2015-16. If that happens, that is a total the Red Wings will only be too happy to have to pay.

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NHL won’t be quite as exciting without cigar-chomping horse-trader Glen Sather

Ken Campbell
Glen Sather  (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

After 35 years as a GM in the NHL, Glen Sather could have been excused for going out with a whimper, the way most veterans do. But let the record show that the last trade Sather made as a GM was a substantial one, which actually was far more fitting.

After all, there are few executives in NHL history that enjoyed the horse-trading business more than Sather did. It’s safe to say, too, that nobody in the history of the game made more transactions than Sather did. His last one sent Carl Hagelin and two draft picks to the Anaheim Ducks for Emerson Etem and a second-rounder. Just prior to that, Sather dealt goalie Cam Talbot and a pick to the Edmonton Oilers for second-, third-, and seventh-round picks.

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Leafs blow it up real good with Phil Kessel blockbuster

Ken Campbell
Phil Kessel (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The first thing fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to get their heads around is that there’s a very good chance Phil Kessel will go to the Pittsburgh Penguins and score 40 goals a year. He might even score more. He could end up being wildly successful with the Penguins and might even win a Stanley Cup there. Kessel could end up being happier and more productive than he ever was in Toronto. And people will have to learn to be perfectly OK with that.

Because that’s very well what might happen here. But the Maple Leafs traded their franchise player on free agent day because they knew he was never, ever going to do those things for them. Kessel was a terrible fit from the day he first signed with the Leafs, cast in the role of the face of the franchise and the undisputed leader by a GM who obviously failed to do his homework on the player. And the problem was perpetuated when his successor signed Kessel to an eight-year deal worth $64 million prior to last season.

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