Changes in the New Jersey Devils' front office continued Thursday when they parted with David Conte, who worked for the team for more than three decades and was its director of scouting for the past 22 years.
Devils general manager Ray Shero, who replaced Lou Lamoriello on May 4, told Tom Gulitti of Northjersey.com he has yet to begin the process of replacing Conte, but the search is expected to get underway soon.
"I think there was eventually going to be some sort of (change)," Shero said. "With Lou stepping up and hiring a general manager, maybe the timing was right for (Conte) as well in terms of some sort of succession plan. He's got a lot of knowledge, a lot to give. To me, it's about bringing in my own guy. I haven't talked to anybody. I made to clear to David along the way. That wasn't appropriate on my end. So the search will start. I'll get that underway. There's no timetable on it. I want to get the right person, the right set-up.
"I'll start putting a list together. I have some ideas on how I want to structure it moving forward from the amateur side or anything else and kind of go from there. So I'll just let this settle a little bit because when someone has been here for 31 years and this has been his passion in life, for a lot of the people have worked here with him on the staff, this is not the easiest day I'm sure. So I'll let this settle and talk to some of the scouts and see how they feel and kind of get at it when I can."
Shero said he's unsure if he wants to specifically name a new director of scouting or also have an assistant general manager.
"I'm going to let it play itself out over the weekend," he said. "I haven't requested permission from any team to talk to anybody. That's with people under contract or people that might not currently be employed by a team. I haven't reached out to any of them either in terms of a role like this. And David knows that. I told him that. It wouldn't have been appropriate for me to do it.
"The first thing on my plate is dealing with the scouts here and talking to them and kind of moving forward from there. I'm not in a rush. It's more for planning for August and September as far as the scout's schedules.”
Conte's drafting ability helped the Devils win the Stanley Cup three times (1995, 2000, 2003). Under his direction, New Jersey drafted players such as Patrik Elias, Petr Sykora, Scott Gomez, Sheldon Souray, Brian Gionta, Paul Martin and Zach Parise.
Conte told North Jersey Media he wasn't ready to retire yet but wasn't sure what comes next. And he said he isn't bitter over the way his time with the Devils ended.
"I'd rather focus on the good part and get excited about the next part," Conte said. "I'm OK with it. I get it. People want their own thing, I guess."