Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason had an up and down performance last season. For the first time in his career, he played in all 82 games, but he also had the worst plus/minus stat in his career, (-11).
Gleason's 216 hits were third highest on the team and 17th best in the league. But according to HockeyFights.com, the blueliner had an NHL career low number of fights last season. (A knockdown of Nikolai Kulemin was technically not a fight, he was given a game misconduct for that one and Kulemin was given a roughing call. So technically, he had one fight for the year.)
Some fans felt pretty sure that the defenseman was playing through an injury last season, but nothing official was ever released about that. To add fuel to the fire though, Gleason's teammates voted for him to receive the Steve Chiasson Award, which goes annually to the player that best exemplifies determination and dedication while proving to be an inspiration to his teammates through his performance and approach to the game.
It was the first time the defenseman won the award.
|2010-11 - Tim Gleason||82||2||14||16||-11||85||0||0||0||84||2.4|
|2009-10 - Tim Gleason||61||5||14||19||0||78
|2008-09 - Tim Gleason||70||0||12||12||3||68||0||0||0||61||0|
|2007-08 - Tim Gleason||80||3||16||19||5||84||0||0||0||98||3.1|
Gleason played a career high number of games last season and had a solid number of hits, (216), third best on the team. His 140 blocked shots led the team. Gleason was on the ice against the other team's best and had the fourth highest ice time on the club. He is considered the team's top shut-down guy. Earning the votes of his teammates for the Chiasson Award shows a lot about what they think of him in the locker room.
Gleason's offensive numbers dropped from the previous year, even though he played 21 more games. As mentioned previously, his performance in his own end was inconsistent and he finished with the worst plus/minus stat in his career. Some feel his "aggression factor" was not as high as in the past because of the lower fight totals. At his end of season press conference, even Jim Rutherford called out the defenseman a bit. For whatever reason, he was not as solid as he was the previous season, when he made the USA Olympic team.
Note: Did his performance in his zone have anything to do with his defensive partner? Gleason was paired with Joe Corvo for over 60% of his total ice time, and Corvo is not necessarily known as an all star in his own end. The previous year, Gleason spent about 27% of his time with Corvo, 24% of his time with Niclas Wallin, and 14% with Joni Pitkanen.
It's an important season for the defenseman because he is in the final year of his four year deal. He will be paid $3.5 million this season and his cap hit is $2.75 million.
How would you grade the defenseman's performance last season?