It’s been a busy few weeks for what’s supposed to be the “dog days” of summer, as more news seems to trickle out each day in Leaf land.

In addition to the re-assignment of Dave Morrison and signing of Mitch Marner to his ELC today, fans are waiting to see if David Conte is going to be brought on to the Leafs scouting department in some capacity. Conte, former Director of Amateur Scouting for the New Jersey Devils, was recently fired by newly hired Devil’s GM Ray Shero and has been culpable for a significant part of the Devil’s five-year death spiral, largely responsible for their recently-poor drafting record.

The management team that’s being put in place has been, by-and-large, Shanahan trying to hire the best of the best at every position and leaving cronyism out of the process. There’s certainly connections to each hire, but Mike Babcock is one of the best coaches in the world, and Lou Lamoriello’s lengthy resume is hard to argue, despite recent struggles. Shanahan only vaguely knew Mark Hunter and had never met Kyle Dubas.

I think, in my short history here, the one thing that I really haven’t done is I haven’t just gone out and surrounded myself with a bunch of buddies of mine and friends of mine. But if you’ve been in the game a long time, you do end up crossing paths with people and having relationships with them. I did not know Kyle Dubas before I hired him, I hardly knew Mark Hunter at all, but I’d heard from people that I trusted that they were rising stars, and hard workers, and good team players. Same with Brandon Pridham, who really does a great job for us managing our cap. I knew from my time with the NHL; we didn’t have a strong relationship, but I knew the quality of his work. Babcock, I wasn’t alone in thinking he was a great coach who would be great in this city with a challenge so great as this one. I just thought, when I heard that Lou was stepping down from GM and moving to the President position, I was looking for a General Manager

– Brendan Shanahan on Prime Time Sports

It’s presumptuous and premature to assume Conte will be brought on to the scouting staff with the Leafs, but the speculation comes naturally. Dave Morrison’s previous role is now vacant — it’s not clear if they will fill it with someone new, or if Hunter is assuming the extra responsibilities (it was largely his domain already) — and Lou Lamoriello’s right hand man is said to be looking for work again:


I’d be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind,” Conte told the Toronto Sun in remarks published Saturday. “… I’m interested in working. I still have to take stock (of my life). I’m not used to having time off. I’ve done this a long time.

At this point, it doesn’t seem like a fit (at least not in the Director of Amateur Scouting role) in that it’s a departure from the hiring methodology Shanahan has been advocating and adhering to, at an important position for the Maple Leafs as they rebuild.

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