The Toronto Maple Leafs have promoted Mark Hunter to the position of assistant GM.
2 years ago, the Leafs hired Hunter as Director of Player Personnel. Hunter previously was the VP and GM of the OHL’s London Knights, a team he co-owns with his brother Dale Hunter.
Hunter was briefly the co-GM of the Leafs after Dave Nonis was fired over a year ago. He stayed in that position until the Leafs hired Lou Lamoriello.
Hunter was the main man at the draft for the Leafs and has been a key cog in bringing in the youth movement into Toronto.
His first selection, Mitch Marner, is a very highly regarded top prospect and this past draft he selected Auston Matthews 1st overall.
Those were probably no-brainer selections, but he had a couple of nice finds last year in Andrew Nielsen and Dmytro Timashov who the organization hopes will continue to improve.
This past year he used a unique strategy of adding older prospects in the draft. Players who were passed over in the previous year hoping to catch a player who was a late bloomer. He also altered is philosophy adding players with a lot more size to the Leafs organizational depth.
While some were critical of how the Leafs approached the 2016 draft, obviously the Leafs organization was impressed by his work, hence the promotion.
With Lamoriello in his mid 70s, there is a definite progression process being put in place with likely one of Hunter or his fellow assistant, Kyle Dubas, being the one who will take over.
The promotion may likely be not only for his good work, but for Lou to have Hunter’s responsibilities increase and perhaps build on his relationships around the league so that he is well connected should he be the one taking over he GM job.
For now though, its likely his role doesn’t change much and Hunter will still be in charge with drafting and development. The Leafs are probably heading towards another different phase in their rebuild and it was a smart move to bring forward and promote someone who has been a big part of it already.