Wes Clark, the Assistant Director of Player Personnel for the Maple Leafs, will take over as Lilley’s replacement as Director of Amateur Scouting.
Eric Joyce, the Director of Hockey Strategy in the organization, will take over as Bodie’s replacement as Director of Pro Scouting.
As I outlined a couple of weeks ago, it was clear that Wes Clark would be the top candidate to receive a promotion to one of these two positions. Clark has a history with Kyle Dubas, having worked with him in Sault Ste. Marie as their Director of Hockey Operations and later their Director of Player Development. Clark was first hired into the Maple Leafs organization in 2015 as an amateur scout, shifting into a team consultant role for the 2015/16 season.
Clark left the Leafs organization in 2016 though, joining the Florida Panthers as an amateur scout during the short-lived “Computer Boys” era with Tom Rowe as general manager. He re-joined Toronto’s front office in 2018 following Kyle Dubas’ promotion to general manager, where he’s been in the aforementioned Assistant Director of Player Personnel role under Dave Morrison.
Given his history with Dubas and his direct work with the experienced Dave Morrison, who has run the Leafs amateur and pro scouting departments before, it was easy to see Wes Clark landing one of these two open positions. He’ll shift back over to the amateur scouting side of things in taking over for John Lilley, who left the organization following the entry draft for a promotion in the New York Rangers organization.
The Eric Joyce promotion is a much more intriguing one to me. Joyce is a West Point graduate with a master’s from Harvard who got into the NHL in 2013 with the Florida Panthers. In a short time, Joyce worked his way from Assistant to the General Manager to Assistant General Manager, overseeing their AHL operations from 2014 through 2020. In fact, Joyce was also a member of the “Computer Boys” era Panthers, though he was hired prior and stayed on through that short-lived time in Florida.
Joyce joined the Leafs front office last year in a new position, as Director of Hockey Strategy. Though he wasn’t someone I identified as taking over one of the director positions, his fit here makes a lot of sense. His experience in the Panthers organization as an Assistant GM and GM of their AHL franchise gives him a wealth of knowledge within the pro scouting ranks, and his one year in the Leafs front office means he’s familiar with how the operations are run in Toronto.
Interestingly, both Clark and Joyce will maintain their previous titles as well according to the press release.
Again, as I outlined a couple of weeks ago, Kyle Dubas has had a clear trend in how his front office decisions are made. When someone new is coming into the front office, they are given a new title (see Wes Clark and Eric Joyce previously, or this summer with Ryan Hardy). When an existing position needs to be filled, it has been done so by means of promotion (both Clark and Joyce now, previously Brandon Pridham, Dave Morrison, and even John Lilley and Troy Bodie).
Wes Clark and Eric Joyce were both Dubas hires over his tenure as Leafs general manager so far, which should make it no surprise they are the ones to receive these promotions. We may hear from Wes Clark relatively soon in his new role as Director of Amateur Scouting if he is made available at the Leafs rookie camp, which is expected to take place early in September.