Everyone around the hockey universe knew that Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford was looking to make a few trades and we've seen a couple go down over the last few days, the biggest of which occurring yesterday. Longtime Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman John-Michael Liles and prospect Dennis Robertson. This was something rumored to be in the works for awhile and it's a deal that seems like a wash for both teams, in my opinion.
Gleason has been a staple on the Hurricanes blue line for years, but he has not looked like himself over the last two seasons. He plays a rough style of hockey and has taken on a lot of mileage over his career and it looks like this has finally caught up with him. Shutdown defensemen typically do not age well and while Gleason is only 30 years old, he looks slower than usual and has had to miss time with an assortment of injuries. I showed some concern about him before the season started because he was trending in the wrong direction last year and his play has only gotten worse since then.
For most of the year, Gleason has been stuck on the Hurricanes third pairing and when he is on the ice, the Canes have been getting heavily outshot at even strength, especially at even strength. The coaching staff has tried to help him out by using him with a number of different partners and giving him sheltered minutes, but nothing has seemed to work. His ability to suppress shots has been among the worst on the team and his territorial numbers are comparable with the likes of Mike Komisarek and Ryan Murphy. Considering that these two players have gotten similar minutes to Gleason, that isn't a good thing.
Gleason played a key role on the Hurricanes in year's past as their key shutdown defenseman and an alternate captain but right now, his play has been on par with that of a third-pairing defenseman and the Canes can't afford to pay him over $4 mil. for the next three years for that. Not when the team has other needs. One of the areas of concern is the power play, which is where John-Michael Liles will hopefully fit in.no comments