When the Chicago Steel made this announcement today, we should have noticed the name that was missing.

Ryan Hardy has been the General Manager of the Chicago Steel of the USHL for three years.  Prior to that he was a scout for the Boston Bruins, and has served with the USNTDP as the director of player personnel. While there, he oversaw the development of Jack Eichel and Auston Matthews. Leafs trade acquisition Joey Anderson was also a player for his team there.

As GM of the Steel, his connections to the Leafs are too numerous to list, but Leafs draft pick Nick Abruzzese is one of his former players. Greg Moore, coach of the Marlies was his head coach.

This new position with the Leafs is a new way to have a General Manager for the minor league teams. Generally, one of the assistant GMs holds that job, and Laurence Gilman has held that post for the past few years. In a departure from the norm, Hardy will also be the GM of the Growlers:

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that Ryan Hardy is joining the organization as Senior Director of Minor League Operations. In his role, he will serve as General Manager of the Club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, as well as its ECHL affiliate, the Newfoundland Growlers. Hardy, 35, had served as General Manager of the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel since the start of their 2018-19 season.

Hardy will oversee hockey operations for the Marlies and Growlers, including roster decisions and staffing. He will also work in unison with the Player Development department to track drafted prospects and participate in player personnel and scouting initiatives as needed.

“Over the last several seasons, I have developed a strong relationship with Ryan as his Chicago Steel team had great success on the ice, as well as success in developing players and staff,” said Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas. “As we evaluate how best to maximize the potential of all our prospects, we felt that adding Ryan to our management team and tasking him with managing the Marlies and the hockey side of our relationship with the Newfoundland Growlers would be a great benefit to the organization.”

Gilman will become Senior Vice-President of the Marlies, making him Hardy’s boss, it would seem. Gilman maintains the role of AHL governor for the team.

If you want to shop for Leafs draft picks or AHL free agents the Steel roster is right here.