January 25 2012 10:53AM
The Leafs get creative in protecting Liles from future concussions
We all know Burke likes to get a head start on the competition. While he did not make a trade today he got out in front of those looking to add a puck moving defenseman to their line-up this summer. As per TSN, Leafs blue-liner John-Michael Liles, @hoosierjm26 on Twitter, has sjgned a 4 year contract with the Leafs. Their sources say the deal is four years at $3.875 per season.
Liles was brought in by Burke at the last entry draft for a 2nd round pick from the Colorado Avalanche. Burke has been interested in Liles for a while even trying to acquire him at last year's trade deadline.
While he has missed the past 7 games with a concussion, Liles has been a positive addition to a young Leafs blueline. Prior to his injury he had put up 4 goals and 21 assists in 34 games while anchoring the top PP Unit. He also saw some time on the PK.
Many are concerned with his ability to contribute moving forward as he will be 34 when the contract expires. At 30 his production has likely peaked. While he should be able to maintain it over the next few seasons, it's unlikely that he lives up to his cap hit in the final year.
That being said he adds some experience and leadership to a young blueline. He is also said to be very community oriented, something Burke values in his players.
With Liles' spot on the blueline secured one would think Burke is working on a trade involving another defenseman. Many are speculating the odd man out could be Luke Schenn, or perhaps Burke could convince Komisarek to waive his NMC. Who do you think is the odd man out on the blueline?