The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that Mark Hunter, previously Director of Player Personnel, has been promoted to Assistant General Manager.
To hear Lou Lamoriello tell it, the move is mostly to put an appropriate name on what Hunter was already doing.
"Mark's new title is essentially a formality as these are duties he’s already been performing," Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a release. "Brendan and I have been discussing this change of title since last season - as it’s a more appropriate recognition of Mark's role with the organization since joining the Maple Leafs. There are no changes to Mark or Kyle’s duties, or to that of Brandon Pridham, assistant to the general manager."
Before coming to the Leafs, Hunter served in a variety of roles--co-owner, head coach, and general manager at different times--with the OHL's London Knights. Since being brought aboard in October 2014, Hunter has run the amateur scouting side of the Leafs. He famously culled the scouting staff in the spring 2015 bloodletting that marked the end of the Nonis era. Early returns on the 2015 and 2016 Leafs drafts have been optimistic, although it'll only be with long hindsight that we can say for sure how Hunter's done.
What this means for the Leafs' succession plan is hard to say. The promotion gives Hunter titular equivalence to Kyle Dubas, often expected to be the Leafs' GM after Lou Lamoriello retires. Hunter hasn't disavowed interest in the top job one day, and his role in building the newest iteration of the Leafs has already been considerable. Stay tuned.