A tip of the cap to John-Michael Liles

A tip of the cap to John-Michael Liles

With the flurry of moves leading up to the trade deadline, I covered the trade aspect of each of the moves as they happened, but sort of have an IOU for writing about the departed players. Eric Staal is going to take some time. It is hard to put 12 years of hockey into a single post. But today I wanted to take the time to tip my Carolina Hurricanes cap to John-Michael Liles. Liles around in a New Year’s Day deal for Tim Gleason. At the time the deal happened, it was basically a swap of bad contracts for players who were not living up to expensive deals. In return for Tim Gleason, the Canes received modest salary savings (which might actually have been the biggest part of the deal at the time), and both teams received a player who had at least some chance of rebounding with a fresh start. When Liles arrived, he was a formerly very good offensive defenseman whose game had decreased in Toronto to the point where he was basically a reclamation project. The optimistic hope was that he could be an adequate third pairing defenseman and maybe refind some portion of his offensive ability and help a Canes power play that was struggling at the time. When inserted into the lineup, he did not do much to spark the power play but was at least serviceable defensively. His game as a Carolina Hurricane has grown from there. In a fit of irony, he spent much of last season paired with Tim Gleason after he was bought out by Toronto and returned to...
7 D in 7 days: John-Michael Liles – Plan B mentor

7 D in 7 days: John-Michael Liles – Plan B mentor

With a run of off days and so much happening on the Canes blue line, my hope is to profile 1 of the Hurricanes 7 NHL defenseman per day over the course of this week. First up is John-Michael Liles. When John-Michael Liles was acquired by the Carolina Hurricanes it was simply a desperation move swapping 2 struggling veteran defensemen with big contracts for each other in hopes of rejuvenation. The Canes sent Tim Gleason to the Toronto Maple Leafs. In return, they received John-Michael Liles. After signing a big contract with the Leafs he had fallen to some combination of struggling, healthy scratched and even playing in the AHL. Upon arriving in Raleigh, he stepped into the lineup in a lesser role. I have used terminology along the lines of ‘needing time to recover from Toronto.’ And that is exactly what has happened over time. Ironically, he played a stretch of pretty good hockey in the first half of the 2014-15 season in the top 4 with none other than Tim Gleason who was bought out from his contract in Toronto. He entered the 2015-16 season expected to again play in the top 4 but to have new veteran help in James Wisniewski. When Wisniewski tore his ACL on his first shift of the season, the original plan was mangled and Liles suddenly found himself as the veteran presence in a pairing that would include an inexperienced rookie. The first go around was with Michal Jordan trying to step up into the top 4 and also move to his off side. Jordan is an older young player at...