Fantasy Impact: The Carolina Hurricanes have acquired defenseman John-Michael Liles from the Toronto Maple Leafs, along with prospect Dennis Robertson in exchange for defenseman Tim Gleason.
The Hurricanes get: a streaky puck-moving defenseman with upside. Liles has had 49 points in a season before, as well as a 46-point year. The 33 year old has shown flashes that he can be a 55-plus guy, but he’s also shown flashes of being a fringe NHLer. Generally, going to a new team will keep a player motivated for at least the duration of that season, so I would expect some immediate results…and questions of “why would the Leafs give up on this guy?” by Hurricanes fans. Well, Leafs fans initially asked that same question about the Avalanche.
In the defenseman Robertson, they get a puck mover who is in the final year of his college career and he should be able to help Charlotte at the end of the AHL campaign. A strong training camp in the fall would put him on the fantasy hockey radar, but it’s tough to get a true feel of what he has to offer until he starts playing professional hockey.
The Leafs get: a stay-at-home blueliner who fits the mold of a reliable No.5. Provided his injuries are behind him (he suffered from three different injuries already this year, including a concussion), he should help stabilize a pretty volatile Leafs defense core. They needed a veteran in this mold, and if healthy Gleason should be a solid depth piece.
Fantasy Players Impacted: The Hurricanes currently dole out power-play time to Justin Faulk and Andrej Sekera, with some going to Ryan Murphy. Well that pie gets divided a lot more now, with Murphy on the outside looking in. But most concerning is Sekera, who again was showing that he can move the puck – but again his team acquires a new player to fill that role. The best Sekera owners can hope for is that Faulk loses the PP time and not him.
The arrival of Gleason in Toronto will push Paul Ranger and Mark Fraser into the press box, where they’ve spent time anyway. But it is also another reason for scratching Jake Gardiner or Morgan Rielly – it’s a crowded carousel, since Gleason won’t be one of the frequent scratches.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order: