After two months of convoluted negotiations, the Hurricanes have agreed to terms with Tim Gleason on a four-year contract worth $11.5 million. The restricted free agent defenseman will earn $2 million this season, $2.5 million in 2009-10, $3 million in 2010-11 and $3.5 million in 2011-12.
Gleason, 25, joins Joe Corvo as Carolina's key defensemen going forward. And the Canes are looking to add a third this weekend at the draft. If Gleason hadn't been signed by July 1, he would have been eligible for offer sheets from other teams, which could have put the Canes in a difficult financial position. As it is, his new contract is comparable to the four-year, $14 million contract Ryan Suter just signed with the Predators.
In an unrelated move, the Canes acquired the rights to impending free agent Darcy Hordichuk from the Predators for a fifth-round pick in 2009. If the Canes can't sign Hordichuk, who has 747 penalty minutes in 302 NHL games, they would get Nashville's fifth-round pick in 2010. Hordichuk is a veteran NHL tough guy who, if signed, would fill that void on Carolina's fourth line.
More to come on both moves later.
UPDATE, 5:14 p.m.: Talked to Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford, who is in Ottawa for the draft. (I am not, for the first time in seven years.)
On Gleason: "I think it's a very fair deal for both sides. In our case, this is a relatively young defenseman we have tied up for four years. We really want Tim to build on the second half of this season. As long as he does that, he'll be a very important part of our team."
On Hordichuk: "He has more NHL experience. He's played that role in the past. He's a great team player and he really fits into the character of our team and can really play that role on a regular basis."
I've got a call into Gleason. I'll update with his comments if and when I hear back from him.