Kyle Dubas poaches Maple Leafs scouting director Wes Clark

Clark ran the Toronto draft table as director of amateur scouting since 2021 and was assistant director of personnel from 2018-23.

Get the latest from Lance Hornby straight to your inbox

Article content

The Maple Leafs have lost their highly regarded amateur scoring director after Wes Clark was hired Tuesday as vice president of player personnel by former boss Kyle Dubas and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Clark was seen shaking hands with Leafs staffers and prospects during Sunday’s conclusion of development camp in Etobicoke. They included three of the team’s most recent first selections, forwards Easton Cowan, Fraser Minten and 2024’s defenceman Ben Danford, with Cowan and Minten expected to challenge for jobs in September.

Clark’s six years at his Toronto post, the last as player personnel director, included some challenging years with the Leafs low on picks due to Dubas trades, but still finding talent such as forward Matthew Knies.

In a release, Pens’ president of hockey operations Dubas said the 41-year-old Clark will oversee amateur, professional and college/European free agent scouting and report directly to him.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

“Starting last fall with the addition of Trent Mann as a player development and scouting advisor and the elevation of Andy Saucier to lead our pro scouting department, we have sought to really bolster our player personnel system,” Dubas said. “Our personnel decisions in this short term will be critical as we seek to add the draft picks, prospects and young players that will serve to add an infusion of young, hungry players to our core.

“By adding Wes to lead the departments directed by Nick Pryor and Andy, along with the valuable experience and wisdom that Trent provides, we have tried to put the Penguins in a strong position to go out and execute on our personnel strategy in the short and long run. Having worked with Wes for many years, I have a deep trust in his ability to identify talent, lead staffs, advance our scouting process and methods, learn from mistakes to improve processes and to challenge my own thinking and planning on a near daily basis.”

Advertisement 4

Article content

Clark ran the Toronto draft table as director of amateur scouting since 2021 and was assistant director of personnel from 2018-23. Prior to that he was a player evaluation consultant around the time Dubas joined the Leafs in 2014. Clark had worked for Dubas with the OHL Soo Greyhounds as well.

The Oakville,native also spent two seasons with the Florida Panthers as amateur scout from 2016-18. He’s a graduate of the University of Maine, where he played four seasons of collegiate hockey from 2004-08.

Clark’s departure could open up a bigger role for assistant GM, player personnel Derek Clancey, who was hired by the Leafs away from Vancouver a year ago. Ironically, Clancey was part of the Pittsburgh front office that won three Stanley Cups.

Article content