NHL Trade Speculation: 5 Possible Suitors for Tim Gleason of Carolina Hurricanes

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NHL Trade Speculation: 5 Possible Suitors for Tim Gleason of Carolina Hurricanes
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With the Carolina Hurricanes' season already deader than your months-old Christmas tree, it's time for GM Jim Rutherford to unload some of his more valuable assets as trade talks heat up.

One of those noteworthy trade items should certainly be defenseman Tim Gleason. The soon-to-be 29-year-old is in the middle of the prime years of his career as a respected enforcer and solid shutdown D-man; as his contract expires this summer, he's also an easy one for Carolina to let go.

As a former first-round pick, Gleason played 125 games over two seasons with Los Angeles, accumulating two goals and 26 assists. He was dealt to Carolina for Jack Johnson in the Los Angeles Kings' blockbuster deal of 2006.

In Carolina, Gleason has settled down as a reputable blueliner. Despite scoring just 15 goals (and 97 assists) over 540 career games, the Michigan native and 2010 Olympian has led the 'Canes as a selfless shot-blocker (among the team's top two in that regard for three years running) and strong hitter.

However, despite Gleason's appealing resume, the market for a defenseman of his type may be relatively small; all but five of the 16 teams currently in the playoff picture rank 13th or better in defense. As it's turned out in '11-12, almost every Stanley Cup contender sports impeccable stay-at-home defense in addition to explosive offense.

Clearly, the Hurricanes have a puzzle on their hands. Gleason's reliability and leadership are benefits that the Hurricanes will dearly miss, yet his soaring trade value may prove too tempting to ignore.

If Tim Gleason does hit the trade market, where would he go? We'll attempt to solve that problem here as we outline five particular squads that appear especially well-suited to take him aboard.

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