Leaf Personnel on The Move
It sounds as though it's not a question of if Rick Dudley will ultimately leave the Maple Leafs for the Montreal Canadiens, it's a question of when.
Timing is everything in hockey, and while new Habs GM Marc Bergevin has received permission to talk to Dudley from Leaf GM Brian Burke, there's some sticky issues.
Primarily, Dudley has been deeply enmeshed in Toronto's draft plans and has extensively scouted all the top prospects, including Nail Yakupov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Alex Galchenyuk and Filip Forsberg. The Leafs draft fifth overall next month, the Habs third overall. Clearly, if Dudley were to join Montreal as assistant GM, Burke would want it to be after the draft, or at least would want Dudley not to share draft info with the Canadiens.
"Nothing is decided," said Dudley today. "Am I aware Montreal has asked for permission to talk to me? Yes. Have I discussed a contract with them? No."
Dudley is regarded as one of the best pure talent scouts in the game. He worked with Bergevin in Chicago, and was immediately rumoured to be a candidate to join the new Montreal GM's front office when he was hired last week. He attended Thursday's Toronto Marlies playoff game and said at that time he had not spoken to Bergevin about a position. Subsequent to that, Bergevin asked permission to talk to him from Burke.
Leaf executive Claude Loiselle was interviewed by Montreal president Geoff Molson in his GM search, and now Dudley is being pursued. Burke's right-hand man, Dave Nonis, is locked up for at least one more season and can't discuss positions with other clubs.
There would be no compensation if Dudley joins the Habs as the NHL outlawed any requirement for teams to pay for access to coaches and executive talent after the last lockout.