The latest word today is that goalie Jack Campbell will leave the Toronto Maple Leafs. Financially, I get it. It might be even the right choice from a dollar and cents perspective. That said, if he came to me for counselling, I would be very clear that – given his history – I think he should make a list of what’s really important to him. Then, he should use that list to make the wisest choice about what he values.

It might be a time in his life when he should take less money from another team so that he could stay with the Maple Leafs. Again, I’m not so presumptuous that I would know the answer; but, I would be encouraging him to weigh the question. There’s more in life than money.

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I Hope Campbell Stays in Toronto, But I’d Rather He Be Solid in His Choice

I am a Jack Campbell fan. I think he’s a stand-up guy who’s a great teammate. He’d also probably be that same guy wherever he lands. But I also think there are some reasons why he should consider staying with the Maple Leafs. And, most of them are not so much about money or even winning and losing on the ice.

They’re about winning and losing in life. The choice that Campbell will make in the next week or so will be a tough one for him. From everything I read and hear, Campbell would love to stay in Toronto. Still; and, honestly, although I cannot fathom the amount of money professional hockey players make, I do know that, financially, there’s a lot is at stake for him.

His next contract could be his last chance to build a retirement package that sets up his entire future. He’s getting married and that matters. Mere mortals like us have no idea what it means to make Campbell’s “paltry” $1.65 million USD each season. He’s hardly a pauper living in Canada on that amount.

Still, there is a difference between $6 million and $4 million a season. But other than looking at the numbers in an account, I’m not sure what it is when you have that much.

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Money Aside, What Are Campbell’s Personal Needs?

As I read about and understand Campbell’s personal journey, it makes me shudder a bit when I hear him say he’s going to trust the negotiations to his agent. I hope his agent is also his friend. Campbell’s personal history of depression when he lost his way as a goalie and struggled to find himself again presents a unique perspective that Campbell shouldn’t ignore.

Nor should anyone really ignore their own needs. When Campbell was a young goalie, his talent and skills left him. He lost his ability to make saves. He fell from the status of great potential when he was drafted in the first round (11th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars. At his lowest, he couldn’t keep a job in the AHL. Fortunately, Campbell found his way back, but there were times when he was lost.

When he lost his confidence, he struggled mentally. It took Campbell years of hard work to find himself again. He did that in Toronto, and his last few seasons have been the best of his career. He found a home. He’s highly valued.

That’s not something to be sneezed at. 

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When Overhardt and Dubas Talk, Must It Be All About Money?

I hope that, when Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas and Campbell’s agent Kurt Overhardt talk together, that part of the conversation will be about Campbell’s own overall health. That has to be as important as an extra million dollars a season.

Really, in the end, what’s the difference between $4.5 million and $5 million USD? What more can a person buy that he needs for that extra $1?

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