Trade: Leafs acquire Gleason for Liles (Updated)

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The oft-rumored Tim Gleason trade is complete.

Gleason is on his way from Carolina to Toronto, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. In exchange, the Leafs will send defenseman John-Michael Liles and defenseman Dennis Robertson, the Leafs’ sixth-round pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Gleason, 30, has spent the last eight years with the ‘Canes after breaking into the NHL with Los Angeles. He represented the U.S. at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, capturing a silver medal.

This has been a difficult season for Gleason, though, as he’s appeared in just 17 games and is averaging less than 16 minutes a night. He has no goals, just one assist and a minus-7 rating.

Gleason is in the second of a four-year, $16 million deal.

Liles, 33, is also in the second year of his deal — a four-year, $15.5 contract. He’s been largely out of the mix for Toronto this season — really, ever since Randy Carlyle took over as head coach — and has played just six NHL games this season, spending most of his time with the AHL Marlies.

Toronto is believed to be the first team to trade a player while participating in the Winter Classic. Liles is at the Big House but a healthy scratch for today’s game.

Update: The ‘Canes have made the trade official, with the following statement from GM Jim Rutherford…

“John-Michael is a puck-moving defenseman who has demonstrated in his career that he can make a difference offensively from the blue line.

“Tim has been a valuable player and leader for the Hurricanes for a long time. We thank him for the contributions he has made to the team and the community and wish him all the best as his career continues.”