The Maple Leafs’ former Director of Player Personnel & Amateur Scouting is headed to Pittsburgh.

After running the Leafs’ draft (and announcing the Leafs’ 31st-overall pick of Ben Danford at the podium) in Vegas in late June, Clark took part in the Leafs’ most recent development camp through this past weekend before leaving the organization early this week.

Clark will serve as the Penguins’ Vice President of Player Personnel, overseeing their pro scouting as well as their amateur and college/European FA scouting. It’s a significant promotion, as he’ll be something of a right-hand man to Dubas now in Pittsburgh.

This was a long-speculated-about move since Dubas left for the Penguins, knowing the pair’s history together dating back to Sault Ste. Marie, where they worked together for five years prior to Brendan Shanahan hiring Dubas in Toronto. The Leafs held onto Clark for another year after Dubas’ departure last offseason before Dubas came knocking with a bigger role in Pittsburgh this summer.

Last offseason, the Leafs hired Derek Clancey, a long-time scout/director of pro scouting in the Penguins organization (including during their three Cup-winning years) who later worked with Treliving in Calgary. Clancey runs the pro scouting side of the player personnel operation in Toronto, while Clark previously ran the amateur side for the past three years. Clark will now oversee all areas of player personnel in Pittsburgh, leaving behind a vacancy at the director of amateur scouting position in Toronto.

While he played a role in player personnel operations since Dubas brought him back from the Florida Panthers organization in 2018, Clark ran the Leafs’ draft table as Director of Amateur Scouting from 2022-2024, which encompasses the Fraser Minten draft, the Easton Cowan draft, and the most recent Ben Danford draft. The 2021 draft — when Matthew Knies was picked late in the second round — was headed up by then-Director of Amateur-Scouting John Lilley, who left to join the Rangers organization a few months later, at which point Clark took over the role for the 2021-22 season.

Wes Clark's Maple Leafs Draft Classes (2022-2024)

DraftPlayerPosNum.RoundDrafted FromNHL: GPGAPts
2024 Ben DanfordD311Oshawa Generals [OHL]
2024Victor JohanssonD1204Leksands IF Jr. [Swe-Jr]
2024Miroslav HolinkaC1515Trinec (Czech Jr.)
2024Alexander PlesovskikhL1525Khanty-Mansiysk Mamonty Ugry [Rus-MHL]
2024Timofei ObvintsevG1575CSKA Red Army Jr. [Rus-MHL]
2024Matt LaheyD2007Nanaimo Clippers [BCHL]
2024Sam McCueL2167Owen Sound Attack [OHL]
2024Nathan MayesD2257Spokane Chiefs [WHL]
2023Easton CowanR281London Knights [OHL]
2023Hudson MalinoskiC1535Brooks Bandits [AJHL]
2023Noah ChadwickD1856Lethbridge Hurricanes [WHL]
2022Fraser MintenC382Kamloops Blazers [WHL]4000
2022Nick MoldenhauerR953Chicago Steel [USHL]
2022Dennis HildebyG1224Farjestads Jr. [Swe-Jr]
2022Nikita GrebenkinR1355Magnitogorsk-2 (Russia Jrs.)
2022Brandon LisowskyL2187Saskatoon Blades [WHL]

Besides the names mentioned above (who have all signed or will sign), out of the depths of those ’22-24 draft classes, Nikita Grebyonkin, Dennis Hildeby, and Noah Chadwick have signed entry-level contracts with the Leafs. Notably, the Leafs had a three-pick and five-pick draft in this time frame as they’ve been pushing in their chips to unsuccessfully chase the Cup at the NHL level, so Clark hasn’t had many bullets in the chamber.

Clearly, it’s too early to make a call on any of Clark’s 2022-2024 picks. There are some promising early returns (from Easton Cowan, in particular), but only Minten has played NHL games from the draft classes Clark was in charge of (and that was only a four-game trial last Fall). It takes years to properly assess draft classes so recent.

The Leafs continue to employ Dave Morrison—who ran the organization’s amateur scouting for the better part of a decade, dating back to the John Ferguson Jr. era—as a senior advisor in their player personnel department. Morrison helped advise Lilley and Clark in their roles, both of whom attracted the attention of other NHL organizations and have since been hired away. Morrison will continue to provide mentorship for the new hire on the amateur side of the team’s scouting operation this season.

For a team looking to contend for the remainder of the Auston Matthews window and will likely be buyers at the trade deadline for the foreseeable future — leading to late first-pick selections in each draft class and eroding their overall draft pick capital — it’s critical that the new head scout /draft czar (be it an internal promotion or an external addition) is able to get the most out of little to work with.