According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the Leafs have acquired Colorado Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles for the 2012 conditional 2nd round pick acquired in the Tomas Kaberle trade with Boston. The Leafs give up a pick they likely never expected to get and flip it for their puck mover and PP QB to replace Kaberle for a season. Think of it as Joe Colborne, a 1st and JM Liles for Kaberle. The only downside here is the $4.2 million cap hit, and possibly if you are a Carl Gunnarsson fan. Liles’ contract has only one year left on the books though, so this is likely a stopgap solution while the Leafs groom Jake Gardiner on the farm. He’s not a bad stopgap at that; his 46 points last season ranked him sixteenth in points among defencemen last season. For comparison’s sake, he notched one less point than Kaberle in 6 less games. He also quarterbacked the 11th best powerplay in the league last season. He’s no defensive stud but used properly (insulated with soft minutes), he’ll serve his purpose here for 2011-12.

The Leafs’ cap situation now sits at 18.7M in cap space (with about 5 players left to sign), per mlse.

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder of, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-13 Maple Leafs Annual magazines. You can contact him at [email protected]

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