Liles headed to Leafs from Avalanche

 

 
 
 
 
John Michael Liles of the Colorado Avalanche controls the puck against Magnus Paajarvi of the Edmonton Oilers during NHL action  February 23, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.
 

John Michael Liles of the Colorado Avalanche controls the puck against Magnus Paajarvi of the Edmonton Oilers during NHL action February 23, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.

Photograph by: Getty Images, edmontonjournal.com

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota — It’s the trade that keeps on giving.

The Toronto Maple Leafs received prospect Joe Colborne and a first-round pick when they dealt Tomas Kaberle to the Boston Bruins at this past season’s trade deadline. As part of the deal, Toronto also received Boston’s second-round pick in the 2012 entry draft when the Bruins reached the Stanley Cup final.

On Friday, Toronto used that pick to acquire puck-moving defenceman John-Michael Liles from the Colorado Avalanche.

“First of all, it worked out pretty well for the Boston Bruins too,” Dave Nonis, the Leafs senior vice-president of hockey operations, said. “We realized a great deal, in terms of what we got for Tomas. And they got a pretty good player who helped them get a Cup.

“I think most teams would take that trade-off. But we’re really happy with what we were able to garner from that deadline move.”

The Leafs, who entered the draft with 11 total picks, were not done there.

Toronto traded its 30th and 39th overall picks to the Anaheim Ducks for the 22nd pick, which the Leafs used to select Tyler Biggs from the U.S. under-18 development program. Scouts say the six-foot-two, 210-pound winger projects to be a Milan Lucic-type player.

With the 25th pick, Toronto then selected Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors defenceman Stuart Percy, a native of Oakville.

The real pickup, for now at least, was Liles.

The 30-year-old is a player that Toronto actually tried to acquire at the trade deadline on Feb. 28. But Nonis said the teams “couldn’t find the right match at that point.” With six goals and 46 points — 18 of which came on the power play — in 76 games last season, the Indiana native will assume Kaberle’s duties.

“He’s a first-unit power-play defenceman,” Nonis said. “We have a few guys that can play that role for a short time. But over the course of a whole season I didn’t think we had that yet.

“We’ve got some guys coming — (Jesse) Blacker, (Jake) Gardiner — who have great offensive upside, but we weren’t prepared to go into this season with a rookie in that hole. We needed to find someone to provide some offence. We needed that power play to get better.”

Liles, who has one year remaining on a contract with a cap hit of $4.2 million US, seemed just as happy to be joining the Leafs.

“When I heard that I’d been traded to Toronto I was extremely excited,” he said in a conference call. “Having watched them and after (GM Brian Burke) took over a couple of years ago, to see their transformation . . . I knew they played really tough.

“I know they’ve got a great young team. There’s a ton of talent of that roster. . . . Overall, I think that team is headed in the right direction.”

National Post

 
 
 
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John Michael Liles of the Colorado Avalanche controls the puck against Magnus Paajarvi of the Edmonton Oilers during NHL action  February 23, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.
 

John Michael Liles of the Colorado Avalanche controls the puck against Magnus Paajarvi of the Edmonton Oilers during NHL action February 23, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.

Photograph by: Getty Images, edmontonjournal.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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