The Carolina Hurricanes are paying defenseman Tim Gleason $16 million over four years, and his contract’s no-trade clause is good for another season. Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford has already stated on numerous non-consecutive occasions that he wants Gleason there for a very long time.
Yet for some reason, a report came from Nick Kypreos of SportsNet Canada, that the Toronto Maple Leafs could be interested in trading defenseman John-Michael Liles for Gleason.
The evidence of this trade has been shaky at best. One report had Carolina VP of Hockey Operations Ron Francis “scouting” Liles. What would the odds be of Francis watching hockey somewhere in Ontario? Where he’s from. At the facility of an affiliate of a team he once played for. Madness.
Whether or not this Gleason for Liles trade goes down remains to be seen. Stranger things have happened. However, the evidence for this trade is shaky and circumstantial at best. The evidence against it? Damning.
The Hurricanes are pretty fixed on defense. With Gleason, they also have Justin Faulk, who is not awful. Behind those guys there’s Jay Harrison and Brett Bellemore. Why are Harrison and Bellemore a huge deal? Because, frankly, if anyone was to go from the back end — it should be those two guys. Gleason is a leader and an investment. Harrison and Bellemore are trade bait.
What would Liles bring to the Hurricanes, anyway? Why in the world would Carolina trade away a top level defenseman worth a ton of money, to Toronto — for a defenseman not even playing for the team?
Forgot that, didn’t you, rumor mill?
Liles was reassigned to Toronto’s AHL affiliate in October. While it would match the decor of the house Rutherford is going for of “players nobody else wanted” — this would be a step way too far.
Some moves do need to be made, this remains fact. However, it would be suicidal for Carolina to exchange Gleason — who is actually playing quite well — for Liles, who is a hot mess. Gleason is an anchor on and off the ice, and his presence is needed in Carolina. His presence in Toronto would be an asterisk on an afterthought in a town with much better things to worry about.
While nothing is out of the realm of possibility, the justification for placing this rumor in the “are you kidding me” drawer, is evidenced by how alone Kypreos is with this story. While its beneficial for his readership numbers, it does nothing to further anyone’s case that a trade like this could actually happen.