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Carolina Hurricanes bring back defenseman Tim Gleason with 1-year deal

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Chris Seward - cseward@newsobserver.com
Tim Gleason skates in a drill during the Carolina Hurricanes training camp practice at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. on Sept. 12, 2013.

Tim Gleason is coming back to Carolina.

The Canes on Thursday announced that the defenseman has been signed to a one-year, $1.2 million free-agent contract.

Gleason, 31, played with the Canes for parts of eight seasons, helping Carolina reach the Eastern Conference finals in 2009. He was traded Jan. 1, 2014, to the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman John-Michael Liles and prospect Dennis Robertson.

Gleason was placed on unconditional waivers by the Leafs on Monday for the purpose of buying out his contract. He played 39 games for Toronto.

"I'm obviously excited to get back," Gleason said Thursday. "I know the area and the organization and this will be a clean slate for myself.

"I know some people probably will look at me and say I'm over the hill or almost there, but I'm just 31. I want to prove to everybody that I can still do it and do it for a long time. I know I’ve got it in me."

Gleason had concussion and back issues last season before the trade to the Leafs. He said he got off to a strong start with the Leafs, only to have his play slip along with the team down the stretch.

Gleason’s buyout cost the Leafs $5.7 million, to be paid over four years, the Toronto Star reported.

"After going to Toronto I thought I had a great couple of months and things were working out well, then we faded out," he said. "Obviously I'm a defensive defenseman. When we were down a goal I didn't play a lot. Before, we were winning games. But after the Olympic break we kind of went south.

"At the same time, I know there are things I can work on and get better. That's what I will do this summer to be ready."

Gleason is a Michigan native but said he has not met Bill Peters, the Canes' new head coach, or talked with him. Peters, also a Michigan native, was a Detroit Red Wings assistant coach the past three years.

"I know of him and from what I hear he likes hard work and a strong work ethic," Gleason said. "That's what I believe in."

Gleason said he felt good physically and said the concussion last season did not change his approach to the game or the way he played on the ice.

"I feel great. I feel like I'm 20 years old," he said, laughing. "OK, maybe not 20 but I'm feeling good.

“I want to help this team get back in the playoffs. I want to win. That’s what it’s all about. I want to win a Stanley Cup.”

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