The Carolina Hurricanes are going to trade defenseman Tim Gleason. That’s how it’s going to be and fans may as well just be into it because it’s going to happen.
Recently, talk was thrown around of Gleason going to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for completely useless defenseman John Michael Liles. This trade was idiotic when it was proposed, and is idiotic today. However when it was proposed, trading Gleason in and of itself was stupid. Things have changed, the team has improved around him, and he has made a case for himself as the team’s new money pit.
If the Liles trade is stupid, where to send him and for whom?
Rumors speak of sending him to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Erik Cole, again. Cole has already served two tours of duty in Carolina and in both tours has proven about as reliable as scotch tape on a fighter jet. Furthermore, Cole is playing like his 35-year-old self in Dallas right now. His stats are awful and has just about nothing to offer the Hurricanes.
Other than jersey sales.
There it is. The elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. The only reason Carolina GM Jim Rutherford is even entertaining the idea of Cole returning, is because in his stints with the Hurricanes, he was beloved by fans. His jerseys sold by the boxful, fans lined up for his autograph, and he was vocal about enjoying living in Raleigh. As much as he loved it, he packed up and left for the Edmonton Oilers in 2008. When that didn’t pan out, he crawled back to Rutherford and got his spot back. After padding his stats for two years, he went again to the Montreal Canadiens, who tolerated him for a season and then shipped him off to Dallas. Where he’s stinking up the joint.
Now things are a little rough, he knows Rutherford will always take him back for some reason and bingo — Cole is in the conversation. If that trade ends up happening, someone needs to schedule Rutherford’s intervention because nobody wants to see him steer the Titanic into the iceberg.
So for whom? If we’re talking about Gleason, it would make sense to go defenseman-for-defenseman. Since Toronto is already on the phone, that’s the best place to start. In Fantasyland, Carolina sends Gleason and someone or a draft pick for Dion Phaneuf. That will happen when flying pigs can sing the hits of Grand Funk Railroad. So forget it. Realistically, the Hurricanes might be able to pull off a straight swap for either Carl Gunnarsson or Jake Gardiner. Gunnaarsson may require a little salesmanship, but both are possible. Also, both are young defensemen having a so-so season. Toronto could lose either of them and be fine. Bringing them to Carolina would be magnificent, as nearly the entire defensive corps is young guys. They have similar styles of play, can bond off the ice and have the benefit of longevity.
Dallas is on the line as well. Cole is a stupid trade, but guess who isn’t … Sergei Gonchar. True story, Gonchar is not living up to expectations. He was wined and dined to make his way to Dallas and isn’t holding up his end of the bargain. Talk of unloading him has come up as well. Dallas Morning News columnist Mike Heika commented in a Q&A session earlier in the week, “This is just a gut feeling, but I predict [GM] Jim Nill will not trade [Gonchar] or Shawn Horcoff. He brought both veterans in during the summer, he wooed them with promises of important roles on a building team, and I don’t think he would ask either to waive their no-trade clause.”
Heika’s gut is only partially right. With Dallas in the basement of their division, they need something and fast. Carolina could benefit immensely in the short term from Gonchar. Dallas isn’t realistically going to let him go for a banged up Gleason. However, throw in someone like Riley Nash or Ryan Murphy and Dallas would be hard-pressed to refuse.
In the end, nothing’s in stone. Predicting trades is about 75-percent speculation and the rest is sorcery. The one thing that’s certain — Tim Gleason will spend next weekend boxing up his stuff.