Dave Morrison re-assigned as Pro Scouting Director

A couple nights ago, Sportsnet Magazine’s Gare Joyce reported that the Leafs’ Dave Morrison – head of amateur scouting – was to be let go by his new boss, Lou Lamoriello. Eventually it came out in the wash that Morrison hadn’t been notified of such a move, and Joyce stepped back a little on his initial claim to clarify that the team would perhaps be shuffling chairs instead. Turns out the latter is true, and Morrison will stay on board to make a change to pro scouting.

Morrison has been with the club in an amateur scouting capacity since the early 2000s, and has headed up that department since 2006. To go from draft picks to overseeing the pro scouts seems a bit surprising, and it adds some fuel to the idea that the Leafs’ new general manager, Lamoriello, might bring aboard his pal David Conte to take over Morrison’s old gig.

Conte had held down the scouting director job with the Devils for most of Lamoriello’s time in New Jersey, and after the Leafs’ big hire last week, indicated he might be interested in joining his former boss.

From NHL.com:

“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.”

This is somewhat concerning since Conte’s draft record in recent years hasn’t been particularly impressive and, like Lou, he’s well up there in age and likely falls into the trap of old-school thinking. It’s especially troubling to consider this type of move could undercut Mark Hunter, who has gained plenty of trust from the fanbase after a great draft just a month ago.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out, because you can bet there’s more news to come. 

  • silentbob

    Couple thoughts/comments.

    First, it seems that we (as a whole) can’t figure out who gets credit for the picks; is it the GM, the head scout, director of player personal….. Most seem to give credit to this years picks to Hunter, and if that’s the case it means Morrison wasn’t making the final decision & its unlikely that Conte would make the final decision, so why would Conte’s track record be a problem? (was it even Conte making the final decision in New Jersey?)

    Second, Shanahan seems to be taking his time and being very careful with assembling his management group. I think its reasonable at this point to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that any move he makes is not going to cause issues within the front office. I also think its reasonable to assume that Shanahan and Lamoriello are on the same page, and Shanahan isn’t going to allow Lamoriello to bring in anyone to undermind the people Shanahan has already brought in.

    Third, this means that changing Morrison might not be 100% Lamoriello, hell it might be 0% Lamoriello. As I mentioned above, we are all under the impression that Hunter has basically taken over drafting and scouting duties. Morrison might have simply become redundant. Maybe Lou pointed this out, maybe it was Lou to suggested moving to pro-scouting after Shanahan made it clear he had to go. Maybe Morrison wanted to make the change, maybe Shanahan/Dubas/Hunter aren’t thrilled with Morrison’s work (they did just move a lot of “his” picks) etc….

  • CMpuck

    Would be nice to see Hunter/Dubas take charge of the OHL side of drafting more as scout IMHO, I imagine that Shanny was another Hunter like scout for the WHL and the Q, already set for Swedes in the organization. Things falling into place, it seemed that Hunter had too much responsibility going into the draft. Rather see Hunter just do his thing as a scout.