The 2014-15 Carolina Hurricanes are going to look a heck of a lot like the 2013-14 Hurricanes. The only real difference is that there will be a new man behind the bench. The Hurricanes completed their retread by signing veteran defenseman Tim Gleason to a one-year, $1.2 million deal.
Gleason, who was traded in the middle of last season from Carolina after eight seasons with the club, was bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier in the week. He'll head to his familiar stomping grounds at a severely discounted rate from the average of $4 million he was due to make until 2015-16.
For the Hurricanes, the buyout works rather nicely. They're able to get Gleason, who is more of a physical, shut-down style defenseman, back at a more reasonable cost and term than he had previously been signed to. Best part is that since the Leafs bought him out, the Canes are not on the hook for the deal former GM Jim Rutherford signed him to.
They also still have John-Michael Liles who was the player the Hurricanes acquired from Toronto for Gleason, though Liles' cap hit remains unfavorable relative to his production.
At 31, Gleason is a decent defender who may be starting to lose a step. He became less effective for the Maple Leafs toward the end of last season and when the team acquired Roman Polak, they didn't have much need for the American blueliner and his heavy cap hit.
Gleason will continue to make $1.33 million until 2017-18 per the terms of his buyout, so he'll still be making quite a bit less this year than the $4.5 million he was due in actual value for this season at least.
Over his career, which included a stint with the Los Angeles Kings before his move to Carolina, Gleason has 133 points in 655 games. He had just six points in 55 contests last season, but is known more for his physical game.
With such little offense in his game, Gleason comes back to Carolina at a more digestible cap hit. He can slot anywhere from the second pairing to healthy scratch depending on the opponent and situation, but this also puts less pressure on the Hurricanes to hand bigger minutes to young defenseman Ryan Murphy.
The Hurricanes will be an interesting test for new head coach Bill Peters. He'll get essentially the same roster Kirk Muller had last year and will likely be expected to get better results. It's tough to see that happening.
Gleason is a familiar face, and the kind of player the fans grow attached to, but beyond that, it's hard to see how the Hurricanes will be better in 2014-15 with no new blood acquired so far outside of depth-forward signings Brad Malone and Jay McClement.