The Toronto Maple Leafs have added to their scouting staff, hiring former Rimouski Oceanic Assistant GM, Sherbrooke Phoenix GM and QMJHL Director of Central Scouting, Patrick Charbonneau, according to the Oceanic’s website.
Patrick Charbonneau, the assistant GM responsible for the development of Ontario and US players on the team, is taking on a new opportunity as he just accepted a professional recruiter position with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Charbonneau was hired into an assistant GM’s role in Rimouski less than two months ago. He also recently interviewed with the Victoriaville Tigres for their vacant GM position.
“No doubt the Oceanic will leverage his vast experience.”
– Rimouski Oceanic GM, Serge Beausoleil, in June 2016
According to La Presse, Charbonneau received a number of job offers following his December dismissal in Sherbrooke, where he held the GM’s post for the Phoenix beginning in their inaugural season in 2012-13 (interesting note: Stephane Robidas is a part owner of the Sherbrooke franchise). Charbonneau spoke candidly following his dismissal, mentioning his pride in building up a new franchise from scratch, a demanding job which at times involved long hours and seven-day work weeks:
“I had the chance to be the GM of an expansion team, an experience I could never have elsewhere,” he says. “I took part in choosing the colours and logo of the Phoenix, I helped form the identity of this team, and I built a line-up with my staff from scratch. The Phoenix gave me my first chance and it was an amazing and extremely rewarding challenge.”
“I was very surprised at the decision,” admits the former GM, eleven days after having learned the bad news. “I was speechless.”
“I’d be lying if I said I never feared being fired when the team saw hard times this season. Like Judes, I respected the decision of the owners, but I still do not accept it.”
Even if the Phoenix are a good team on paper, thanks to the work of Patrick Charbonneau and recruiters, the Sherbrooke club has not responded to early season expectations. That’s what brought Jocelyn Thibault to take over with new coach Stéphane Julien.
“I sincerely believe that the Phoenix were not on par with their real talent,” says Charbonneau.
“We should have been better with the group of players we had. I shouldn’t try to understand the reasons for my dismissal. I am obviously very disappointed with what happened. The hardest thing was telling my kids. Hockey was part of our routine. I have spent the last four years with the Phoenix after all.”
“I sometimes worked up to 20 hours a day, seven days a week,” he added. “My schedule was already planned for the next two months, especially with the trading period which began last Saturday. Overnight, I found myself at home with lots of free time. In a way, I neglected my family and I savoured every moment spent with my wife and children during the holidays.
Prior to his role in Sherbrooke, Charbonneau served as the Director of Central Scouting for the QMJHL starting in 2008.
“With the transfer of Pierre Leduc to our hockey operations department, it was important to find an individual who already possessed extensive knowledge of the QMJHL and the minor league system. The ideal candidate to fill this role is Patrick Charbonneau,” said QMJHL Commissioner Gilles Courteau.
“Recruitment is the very basis for our long term viability and success. Patrick Charbonneau fulfils a real need to develop and better our recruitment strategy.”
During the overhaul of the Leafs‘ amateur scouting staff under Mark Hunter last summer, the Leafs hired current Director of European Scouting Ari Vuori away from the Detroit Red Wings before adding European scouts Robert Nordmark (Swedish scout formerly of the Oilers and Coyotes) and Radim Jelinek (Czech/Slovak scout previously of the Red Line Report) under Vuori. In their North American division, the Leafs also hired Dale Derkatch (formerly the director of scouting for the Prince Albert Raiders) and Tony Martino (formerly a US-area scout for the London Knights) last offseason. Presumably, Charbonneau will join the group as a Quebec-based scout with an eye on Eastern Canada.
The Leafs recently lost player evaluation consultant Wes Clark to Florida, where he will serve as an Ontario-based scout for the Panthers. Here is an up-to-date list of the Leafs’ scouting staff.