It was forgone that, if Rick Dudley wanted to join Marc Bergevin in the Canadiens front office, the Toronto Maple Leafs couldn’t and probably wouldn’t stand in his way. Dudley did have that ‘out clause’ in his Toronto contract. The prevailing issue was the possibility of Dudley’s presence at the Montreal table during the NHL entry draft June 27th and 28th in Pittsburgh. After all, the Leafs had paid all of Dudley’s scouting travel expenses both in North America and Europe over the last year and had an exclusive right to that information.
On Twitter Monday, the usually reliable Bob McKenzie of TSN reported that the Leafs won’t stand in Dudley’s way so long as he does not supply any of his junior scouting information to the Canadiens prior to the draft. That aside, exercising his contract option, Dudley could join the Canadiens organization as early as June first.
I would think the least of the Leafs worries are how the Canadiens exercise their third overall pick (Toronto drafts fifth). Where Dudley’s information might make difference for both teams would be in the later rounds when the scouts really take over the process. The Canadiens have two second round picks (33rd & 51st overall) plus third and fourth rounders (64th.94th) and the 6th. Their 5th and 7th rounders were traded as part of deals for James Wisniewski and Petteri Nokelainen.
Of course, there is nothing preventing Dudley from imparting whatever draft information he has to Canadiens player development director Trevor Timmins behind closed doors. However hockey is a small world and an ethical breach of this sort would not sit well within the hockey establishment.
All of that said, we’re hearing no objection about Dudley passing along his pro scouting knowledge which will be valuable when the Canadiens consider unrestricted free agents on July first.