Burke adds Dudley to Leafs braintrust

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

MINNEAPOLIS - In the front office anyway, the Maple Leafs may have one of the most impressive depth charts in the NHL.

Now if it can only be translated to the ice.

The Leafs increased the roster on Friday by adding former Atlanta Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley to the payroll in a yet to be determined position.

With president and GM Brian Burke at the top, the Leafs executive suite now includes Dave Nonis, Dave Poulin, Claude Loiselle and Dudley.

"Rick is an exceptional evaluator of talent," said Nonis, Toronto's vice-president of hockey operations. "If you look at where he's been and what's followed after he's left, it has usually been success."

While he had yet to achieve success in Atlanta, it became apparent as soon as the Thrashers were leaving town that his hours with the franchise were numbered.

"The day that Winnipeg notified me and the rest of the world that I wasn't going to Winnipeg, Burkie got in touch with me and we started talking at that point and it evolved from there," Dudley said.

"I had a feeling (I wouldn't stay in Winnipeg). People have to have comfort levels with people and I didn't know the people very well and they obviously wanted to start something new and that's fine."

While Dudley's role hasn't been defined, you can bet it will have a heavy scouting element to it.

"Whatever (Burke and Nonis) ask me to do," Dudley said when asked what he expects to do. "I grew up in Toronto and I see the team as evolving into something good. I'd like to be a part of that.

"There's some very likeable pieces in place. I just have to go out and find some pieces that might work and tell Brian about it."

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca


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