John-Michael Liles Statistics & Scouting Report

John Michael Liles Scouting Report by Gus Katsaros and Ryan Dadoun

John-Michael Liles enjoyed seven consecutive 30-plus point seasons with the Colorado Avalanche before the Leafs acquired him in the summer of 2011 for a 2012 second round draft pick. The mid-size Zionsville, Indiana native is a smart puck-moving defenceman airlifted in to help the Leafs mobility from the back end and with their man advantage following a 2010-11 campaign (ranked 22nd in the league with a 16.0% power-play success rate). It was a great fit for the first third of the season, with Liles recording 21 points in 34 games when Buffalo’s Paul Gaustad hit revealed a concussion on Dec. 22. The blueliner missed the next 16 games and was a different, less courageous player upon return. He recorded just six points and a horrid minus-16 rating in his final 32 contests. At the top of his game, Liles is both well-balanced and quick off the mark and fast on the ice. He lacks a distinct size advantage, but can handle one-on-one assignments thanks to his ability to put himself in strong defensive positions aided by nice stickwork. The 31-year-old has demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice his body by blocking 264 shots over his last 142 games. Fast and strong opponents can exploit weaknesses. He makes occasional gaffes and can be frustrated if defenders successfully block his primary lanes, running out of ideas as space gets more limited. A summer to refocus from the concussion might do him good and allow for a return to form.

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