Needing more heft and a little more menace the Maple Leafs added Michigan native Tim Gleason in a New Year’s deal with the Carolina Hurricanes that saw John-Michael Liles and prospect Dennis Robertson head to Carolina.
Assuming the Leafs didn’t contribute a little to Liles’ salary, the trade is basically a saw salary wise. The six-foot- 215-pound Gleason has two more years after this one at a cap hit of $4 million per. Liles, meanwhile, will carry a cap hit of $3.875 million over the next two and a half seasons.
What Gleason is tough. A native of the Detroit suburb of Clawson, Gleason has never capped 85 penalty minutes but he is relentlessly physical and capable of a role of a shutdown defenceman. The Leafs’ brass noted Gleason’s toughness in the 2009-2010 season when he broke Nikolai Kulemin’s nose with a hard right-hand.
Gleason has played 616 NHL games. He has scored 15 goals and recorded 128 points in that time with 591 penalty minutes. Gleason’s last game was Dec. 29 against the Maple Leafs when he played 14:24 of even strength time and finished even in a 5-2 Toronto win.
Liles was never a good fit for Leafs coach Randy Carlyle who already had two fast-skating, light-hitting defencemen in Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly.
The Leafs acquired Liles for a second-rounder in 2011. In 104 appearances as a Leaf, Liles recorded nine goals and 29 assists but was a combined minus 17.
The Leafs drafted Robertson in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. The 22-year-old defenceman at Brown University had 22 points in 36 games.