The Toronto Maple Leafs have re-assigned former Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison to the role of Director of Pro Scouting.
Steve Kasper was recently fired from the role during the large culling by Shanahan known as Bloody Sunday at the end of the season in April. Morrison will oversee pro scouts Mike Penny, Tom Watt, and Bryan Stewart.
|Mark Hunter||Director of Player Personnel|
|Dave Morrison||Director, Pro Scouting|
|Ari Vuori||Director, European Scouting|
|Mike Penny||Pro Scout|
|Tom Watt||Pro Scout|
|Bryan Stewart||Pro Scout|
|John Lilley||Amateur Scout|
|Garth Malarchuk||Amateur Scout|
|Wes Clark||Amateur Scout|
|Lindsay Hofford||Amateur Scout|
|Thommie Bergman||European Scout|
|Nikolai Ladygin||European Scout|
Morrison was given a recently-renewed contractual commitment from the Leafs after all the dismissals, believed to be two years in length. He started with the organization in 2004 as an amateur scout and was promoted by JFJ in 2006 to the role of Director of Amateur Scouting. He was in charge of the Leafs drafting through the JFJ, Cliff Fletcher, Brian Burke and Dave Nonis eras, along with the beginning of the Brendan Shanahan era.
Throughout his tenure as the head amateur scout, Morrison faced heat for some conservative selections beyond the top of the first round such as Tyler Biggs, Frederik Gauthier, Brad Ross, and Jamie Devane. For all the heat he took, the Leafs were relatively successful in acquiring NHLers, as the stats show:
Morrison will leave the amateur scouting job hanging his hat on the Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri and possibly William Nylander selections, on top of a ridiculously good 2006 draft class, and possibly looking back at Connor Brown as a steal.
Some have begun to sync the Leafs with the recently-released Dave Conte, who has been attached to the hip with new GM Lou Lamoriello since he started with the Devils as their head scout. This re-assignment of Morrison’s role away from amateur scouting will only fuel that speculation.
Conte was a big part of the Devils success, playing a role in selections such as Martin Brodeur, Patrick Elias, Zach Parise and more. Recently, though, the Devils have been a poor drafting team. Their best pick since 2006 is Adam Henrique in the fourth round of ’06, with not too much to speak of since beyond 2011 fourth overall selection Adam Larsson (you can debate among yourselves about where he should’ve gone in the order in hindsight).
There’s also this:
Dave Morrison vs. David Conte on Analytics
Maybe Conte changes his tune now, but it seems like it would fly in the face of the new regime’s approach towards new analytical hockey concepts, and contradicts the attitude of every management person the Leafs have hired since Shanahan was brought on board.
What our hope will be is that this shuffle of roles puts the amateur scouting department fully under Mark Hunter’s control, which seemed to largely be the case already. By all accounts (as much as it can be said just one month after the picks were made), he ran an excellent draft in his first go-around back in June.