According to a report on NHL.com and the Devils’ official website, the Devils have opted not to renew the contract of longtime scout David Conte.
Conte, who served as the Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations since 2006, had been with the team since 1984-85 when he joined the organization full-time as a scout and was Director of Scouting since 1993. Devils General Manager Ray Shero was quoted in the press release as saying: “David and I have had numerous discussions regarding his future. Based on our conversations, I believe it is in the best interests of our organization to pursue other opportunities and to not renew his contract.” The GM also thanked Conte for his 31 years of service to the team and that “the search for his successor will begin immediately.”
Conte, who the article on NHL.com mentions had a hand in drafting such great NHLers like Brendan Shanahan, Bill Guerin, Martin Brodeur, Scott Niedermayer, Brian Rolston, Sergei Brylin, Patrik Elias, Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta, also helped to sign undrafted players like John Madden and Brian Rafalski (as the article mentions by name) and others like Andy Greene.
The 66 year-old graduate of Colgate University had previously served as a scout with the Washington Capitals with GM Max McNab (who would go on to work for the Devils as well) after spending his post-collegiate playing career in Europe (he played in Finland, Italy and Spain). It was there that he made a number of connections that allowed him to succeed in his NHL scouting career. In fact, the Devils’ old media guides used to specifically note his expertise in evaluating U.S. college and European talent, although as his track record shows, he was equally adept at finding talent in any player no matter where they played.
It seems this has been said a lot during this offseason, but the parting with David Conte is yet another “end of an era” for the Devils organization. Conte was responsible for helping to build three Stanley Cup winning teams and a lot of the team’s success over the roughly twenty-five year period from 1988 to 2012 can be attributed to his drafting. But, the Devils have not been where they were used to being: in the playoffs and at the top of the standings. It is because of this that management felt a change needed to be made, and with a new GM comes a new team with him. Shero is going to want his guys surrounding him and that is OK. The end result in professional sports should be to win. If Ray Shero feels that they need a change in their outlook when it comes to scouting and that it will be in the best interests of the New Jersey Devils, then that is how it has to be.
I am sure that most Devils fans everywhere are very appreciative to David Conte for all that he has done for the franchise during his tenure here. He brought some of the all-time greats in Devils (and NHL) history into the league. I am also sure that most fans would wish him the best of luck in the next step in his illustrious career.