When John-Michael Liles left the Colorado Avalanche to join the Toronto Maple Leafs in the summer of 2011, he did it as an offensive defenseman that was coming off a great season with 46 points in 76 games.
But things didn’t go as planned in Toronto, the American defenseman only put up 27 points in 66 games, then 11 in 32 in the shortened lockout 2013 season. He probably would have been a compliance buyout had the Maple Leafs not already used two on Mikhail Grabovksi and now-Canes defenseman Mike Komisarek.
Instead they sent Liles to the minors, where he still counted against the cap and were willing to trade him and take on the salary of Tim Gleason.
But just because Liles had a rough time in Toronto, doesn’t mean that it will continue to Raleigh. In fact, it could mean the opposite as a new surrounding may help the Indianapolis native rebound.
There is so much more pressure on the Toronto Maple Leafs then there is for the Carolina Hurricanes. It was a main factor in Komisarek’s decision to come to Raleigh and it’s probably similar to Lile’s time in Colorado.
When Liles signed with the Maple Leafs, he was expected to be a top-four defenseman and play second fiddle to Dion Phaneuf. With the Canes, he’ll take a seat back behind Justin Faulk, Andrej Sekera and Ron Hainsey. The Hurricanes will rely on him more for his power-play abilities than anything else.
However, don’t expect near 40 points for the defenseman. At 33-years-old, those days are behind him. But helping the power-play and putting up 20-30 points in a season? That may be more reasonable for John-Michael Liles.