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Report: Rick Dudley to stop preparing Leafs for the Draft, join Canadiens as assistant GM

Rick Dudley, charming his way into hearts (Getty)

Dudley and Bergevin would instantly form the studliest management duo in the NHL.

When Marc Bergevin was named the General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens, rumours immediately began swirling that Rick Dudley was close to joining his front-office team. According to a report from TSN's Darren Dreger, Dudley is indeed set to become the Assistant GM in Montreal. Theres just one small hiccup.

Dudley, a premier talent evaluator, is currently a member of Brian Burke's Lincoln-esque team of rivals in Toronto and he's been hard at work preparing the Maple Leafs for the upcoming NHL entry draft on June 22-23. That's a lot of inside information to take to Montreal. From TSN:

Dudley, a member of Toronto's management team, has an "out" in his contract with the Leafs, but has done extensive work for Toronto on the upcoming NHL Draft and sources say Burke would prefer Dudley not join the Canadiens until after the Draft.

Compounding the issue is the fact Toronto and Montreal both have top five picks (Canadiens at third overall, Leafs fifth), an obvious concern for the Maple Leafs, who would rather not share Dudley's expertise with the rival Habs.

Montreal drafts just ahead of Toronto all through the weekend, and with Dudley at their table, they'll effectively have a mole in the Leafs' organization telling them exactly which players Burke and co. are praying will still be on the board.

That's a lot of leverage to hold. so you can see why Burke might prefer that Dudley's first day with the Canadiens organization is in, say, the day after St. John the Baptist Day. Will he be able to block the move until then? The two sides are in talks.

(Also, rumour has it Burke has been asking people if that systemic memory deletion firm from "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is based on a real company.)

When the deal is finally made official, Dudley should prove to be a good front-office addition. The major concern voiced at the Canadiens' hiring of Bergevin is the new GM's inexperience, and Dudley should be able to speak to this. The 63-year-old is as veteran a hockey executive as you're going to find. Since he retired as a player in 1982, he's coached in four different leagues, and he's served as the General Manager of the Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, and Atlanta Thrashers.

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