Liles in limbo with Maple Leafs?
While it may be a stretch to say defenceman John-Michael Liles is on borrowed time with the Maple Leafs, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
We’re not suggesting Liles, who has an annual salary cap hit of $3.875-million US through the 2015-16 season, has played his last game as a Leaf. But he has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games and could be out again on Saturday night in Ottawa against the Senators.
Jake Gardiner won’t be with the Toronto Marlies forever, and Morgan Rielly, another slick young defenceman, will be given every chance to make the Leafs out of training camp next September.
Leafs coach Randy Carlyle prefers big, physical defencemen. Liles is neither. Gardiner and Rielly aren’t physical, but they’re faster and have greater offensive upside. In the long run, Carl Gunnarsson also might not be safe.