Montreal Canadiens Should Hire Mark Hunter Away From Toronto Maple Leafs

The Montreal Canadiens have a void in their front office after allowing Rick Dudley to head for Carolina. Mark Hunter would be an experienced voice to add to the management team.

The Montreal Canadiens have a void in their front office. Rick Dudley was one of the first people hired by general manager Marc Bergevin. The vice president of hockey operations left for sunnier climes as he accepted a similar role with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Bergevin said that the role wouldn’t be filled. However, he also said he wasn’t looking to trade P.K. Subban. He said that Carey Price was day-to-day before he missed most of 2015-16, and Shea Weber was only supposed to be out a few weeks this season.

So, it’s safe to say that Bergevin doesn’t tell the media exactly what is going on behind closed doors. That’s fine. You can’t expect a Facebook Live video coming out of the team’s scouting meetings. It would be cool as a fan to see that, but all teams keep secrets.

When the Canadiens announced Dudley wasn’t going to be replaced, they also didn’t know that Kyle Dubas was the next general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. That was not announced until yesterday.

You can argue amongst yourselves if that was the right choice or not. The Leafs also had Mark Hunter waiting in the wings for an opportunity to run an NHL team. Being passed over for a 32-year-old must leave him thinking he will never have control of the Leafs.

Hunter has a better chance at being Habs GM than Leafs

The Canadiens should now strike while the assistant general manager is hot. Being passed over for a job by someone almost half your age is not a great feeling. It just might have Hunter looking elsewhere around the league for a potential general manager position.

Well, the Canadiens don’t have an open general manager position. At least not yet. Bergevin is entering year seven at the helm of the Habs, and recent results are not pretty. The team just missed the postseason for the second time in three years and lost in the first round of the 2017 postseason.

I can’t see the Habs firing Bergevin to being in Hunter as GM. However, with Dudley’s position vacant, Hunter could be brought in as a senior vice president of hockey operations. It would technically be a promotion from his current assistant general manager position with Toronto, so the Leafs would have to grant permission for the Habs to talk to him.

Hunter has ties to Montreal, would be a potential successor to Bergevin

Then, once entrenched in the Habs management team, Hunter would be a potential successor to Bergevin. If the Habs don’t have a great offseason and get off to a slow start, Bergevin will be on the hot seat. Having a GM in-house ready to take over would be an ideal situation.

Hunter was drafted by the Canadiens in 1981. He played four seasons in Montreal before continuing his career in St.Louis, Calgary, Hartford and Washington. He had a decent playing career that included over 600 games and 300 points in the NHL.

Hunter has a great track record in hockey management

However, Hunter has been much more successful as an executive. He spent more than a decade with the London Knights as owner, general manager and vice-presidents as well as a short stint as head coach.

During his 12-year tenure with the Knights, the team won three league championships, a Memorial Cup and made it to the third round of the postseason seven times. The team was constantly a threat to win a championship.

Hunter ensured the pipeline remained stocked with great prospects and got the most out of every player that went through London for over a decade. His eye for drafting young talent is excellent, proven by the talented, young players playing up and down the lineup in Toronto now.

Hunter has ties to Montreal, a proven track record as a superior executive and a great draft record. He has a desire to move up the ladder but got ‘Shana-blocked’ in Toronto. In Montreal, there would be a greater chance of taking over control of an NHL team.

He’d have to think about it a move, and Montreal should be trying to entice him to come back to the team that drafted him all those years ago.