Look up the definition of "warrior" in the dictionary and you're liable to find a picture of Tim Gleason. This player will drop the gloves in a heartbeat for any of his teammates, will skate through a brick wall in order to win, or will perform any other role asked of him.
Most critics in the league figured that Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford got fleeced back in 2006 when he traded the rights to Jack Johnson to the Los Angeles Kings for Gleason and Eric Belanger. (The Canes also tossed in defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky, a mistake of a signing who was still owed millions on his contract.) But if people questioned it before, at least no one in North Carolina is complaining about that trade right now.
One of the season's most memorable moments? When the defenseman took a puck to the face in Washington, left the game to be stitched up, then returned with a full face shield. Gleason scored a shorthanded goal in the third period of that game and willed his team to a tie in regulation.
The Good: After failing to score a single goal in the 2008-09 regular season, Gleason broke through for a career high five goals last season. He was one of the team leaders in average time on the ice, (21:12), but did suffer a couple of injuries and missed a total of 21 games over the course of the season. He is a team leader who is not too shy to speak to the media after a loss, but allows others to take the lime light after a win. The defenseman is almost always on the ice facing the opponent's best forwards. He is the team's top shut down man on the blueline.
Gleason also made a name for himself in the Olympic games as many who were unfamiliar with him ended up being impressed with his rugged, solid play. He helped Team USA to a Silver Medal finish after many questioned if he even belonged on the team.
The Bad: The blueliner has improved on this, but still can take an undisciplined penalty at times. While he is an excellent fighter and it's tough to question his desire to stand up for teammates, sometimes it would better suit the team if others did the fighting and he stayed on the ice. He is better on offense than he gives himself credit for and should be more confident in the other team's zone.
The Money: Gleason has two more years on his current contract which pays him $3 million this coming season and $3.5 million the following year. His cap hit number is $2.75 million. (Salary Chart)
Discussion: According to your expectations, what grade did you give Gleason and why? Should he fight more or less next season? How can he improve?