Four more years for Liles in Toronto

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have reportedly locked up a key cog on their blue line until 2016. says that puck-moving defenseman John-Michael Liles has signed a four-year, $15.5 million contract extension, a deal the club will announce later today.

Liles, currently out with a concussion, has 21 points in 34 games and has helped the Leafs to one of the best power plays in the NHL.

Toronto was among the worst with the man advantage last season, after which they acquired Liles over the summer from the Colorado Avalanche.

“Liles is basically going to take the place of Tomas Kaberle,” Leafs VP Dave Nonis said back in June.

“He’s a power-play guy, a position we’ve definitely been lacking since Kaberle was gone. He’s going to step right in and will be given a lot of responsibility and opportunity.”

Liles was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. His long-term commitment may allow general manager Brian Burke to offload a defenseman, of which the Leafs have many, prior to the Feb. 27 trade deadline.

Related: Luke Schenn shakes off trade rumors