John-Michael Liles

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John-Michael Liles
John-Michael Liles 1 2012-03-07.JPG
Born (1980-11-25) November 25, 1980 (age 34)
Indianapolis, IN, USA
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Defense
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
Carolina Hurricanes
Colorado Avalanche
Toronto Maple Leafs
National team  United States
NHL Draft 159th overall, 2000
Colorado Avalanche
Playing career 2003–present

John-Michael Liles (born November 25, 1980) is an American professional ice hockey player. Liles is currently a member of the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League (NHL). He has also played for the Colorado Avalanche and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Liles is a minority owner of the Indiana Ice of the USHL.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Amateur career[edit]

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana and raised in Zionsville, Indiana, Liles played most of his minor hockey in nearby Carmel before entering the Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana.

Liles attended Culver Military Academy and lettered in hockey and golf. In hockey, he was the varsity "B" team's MVP. He also played on the Varsity "A" team as a sophomore. Liles was then invited and selected to play in the U.S. National Team Development Program based in Ann Arbor in which he was an integral part of the blueline in both the Under 17's and Under 18's. In the 1999–00 season he was recruited to play collegiate hockey with Michigan State University of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and as a Freshman led the defensemen in scoring with an impressive 28 points in 40 games.

Emerging as an offensive talent but hindered by size, Liles was drafted in the 5th round, 159th overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche. Alongside Brad Fast he formed a star offensive duo among Spartan defencemen and in his sophomore year scored 25 points in 42 contests to be named to the All-CCHA Second Team. In the 2001–02 season, Liles led the entire MSU team in scoring with 35 points to be selected in the All-CCHA First Team and Second All-American Team.[2] On October 6, 2001 he also took part in the famous Cold War outdoor game, which at that time held the attendance record for an ice hockey game, against the University of Michigan.

During his senior season with the Spartans, Liles again led the team in scoring with 50 points in just 39 games while helping Michigan State to a 23–14–2 record.[2] Earning the CCHA Best Offensive Defensemen Award for the second consecutive year he scored an average of 1.28 points per game for Michigan State and was also a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.[3]

Professional career[edit]

After completing his Collegiate career he was signed to a two-year entry level contract with the Avalanche on March 29, 2003. Signing an amateur try-out contract the following day with Colorado's AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, Liles made his professional debut against the Grand Rapids Griffins on March 30 and played in 10 games to end the 2002–03 season.

In the 2003–04 season, Liles made the Avalanche straight out of College and scored his first NHL goal and point, a game-winner, against the Minnesota Wild on October 16, 2003.[4] John-Michael led all rookie defensmen with 10 goals and 34 points in 79 games to be named to the NHL All-Rookie Team while also becoming highest point scoring rookie defenceman in Avalanche history and second in franchise history since Bruce Bell's 37 with the Quebec Nordiques in 1984–85.[5]

During the NHL lockout the next season, he enjoyed a brief stint in the German DEL for the Iserlohn Roosters playing in 17 contests for 11 points. Liles returned to the Avalanche for the 2005–06 season and established himself within the Avalanche D-corps appearing in all 82 games and finished tied first with Rob Blake for 14 goals on the team. Improving his offensive numbers in every category Liles also set a new club record among Colorado defensemen with 14 points in the Month of October. Following another impressive season he was then re-signed to a new two-year contract on July 12, 2006.[6]

With the arrival of rookie Paul Stastny surprisingly making the team in 2006–07 he gave up his No. 26 jersey, that of former Nordiques great Peter Stastny, for Paul to wear to honour his father.[7] With the change to the No. 4 jersey he led the Avalanche defense in scoring with 14 goals and 44 points, placing tenth in the NHL. In reaching his 10th goal against the Dallas Stars on December 27, 2006, Liles became the first defensemen in the NHL since Steve Duchesne in 1987–88 to score 10 plus goals in his first three years in the NHL.[8]

Liles with the Avalanche in 2007.

After suffering the disappointment of failing to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in Avalanche History, Liles helped lead the team return to the post season in 2007–08. On December 17, 2007, he recorded two helpers against the Los Angeles Kings to surpass 100 career assists in the NHL.[9] Despite leading the defense in scoring for a second consecutive year he recorded a career low 6 goals for 32 points in 81 games. With free-agency hours approaching Liles was re-signed to a new four-year contract with the Avalanche on June 30, 2008.[10]

In the 2008–09 season, Liles rebounded offensively to again top all Avalanche defensemen in goals with 12, and ranked 4th on the team in points with 39 as the struggling Avalanche finished a club worst 27th in the NHL.[11] Transitioning into a senior role for the Colorado defense, he scored his 50th career goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 29, 2009 to become only the 5th defender in Quebec/Colorado history to achieve the feat.[12]

Hampered by a re-occurring shoulder injury midway through the 2009–10 season, he also struggled with returning to form and was a healthy scratch for a brief period of time for the first time in his career.[13] Despite playing in a career low 59 regular season games for 31 points, he still led the resurgent youth-laden Avalanche team in scoring as a defenseman for a fourth consecutive season.

To begin the 2010–11 season, Liles made NHL and franchise history when he recorded an assist in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks on October 26, 2010, giving him assists in 9 consecutive games to open the season.[14] Despite the Avalanche failing to qualify for the playoffs, Liles accumulated a career high 40 assists in 76 games.

On June 24, 2011 Liles was traded by the Avalanche to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2nd round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.[15] He scored his first goal as a Maple Leaf in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. On January 25, 2012, Liles signed a 4-year contract extension worth $15.5 million with the Maple Leafs.[16] On October 1, 2013 after being waived by the Leafs he was assigned to the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.[17] He was called back up on October 28, sent back down to the Marlies on November 15, 2013, and finally recalled from the Toronto Maple Leafs on December 6, 2013.

On January 1, 2014 Liles was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes with Leafs prospect defenseman Dennis Robertson for Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason,[18] just minutes before he was scheduled to play for the Leafs in the 2014 NHL Winter Classic.

International play[edit]

Initially Liles was selected to play for Team USA in the 2000 World Junior Championships in Umea, Sweden but suffered an injured shoulder in the last minute of the last exhibition game to rule him out of the tournament.[19] During the 2004–05 NHL Lockout, Liles finally made his international debut when he was recalled prior to his European stint with Islerhohn Roosters as an injury replacement for Hal Gill for the 2004 World Cup.[20] After scoring in his first exhibition game against Russia, he played in 2 games during the World Cup.[21]

His place was retained within Team USA when he was named, alongside future teammate Jordan Leopold, as a part of the young nucleus in the squad to appear at the 2005 World Championships.[22] Liles went pointless in 7 games before finishing in 6th place after elimination in the quarterfinals to eventual Gold medalists, the Czech Republic.

During the 2005–06 season, John-Michael was named to the United States Olympic team for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.[23] He appeared in all 6 games for the underwhelming United States team recording 2 assists before suffering elimination in a quarterfinal loss to Finland 4-3.[24]

Three years later he returned to the National Team when he was added to play in the 2009 World Championships following Colorado's cellar dwelling season in 2008–09.[25] He finished the tournament with the most points on the team, and second most points for a defenseman in the entire tournament, earning nine points in nine games. Team USA ended up fourth overall, losing the bronze medal to Sweden.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Liles married his fiancée, Erin Johnson, on August 27, 2013, in Vail, Colorado.[citation needed]


  • Longest consecutive point-scoring streak for a defenceman from start of season: 9

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1997–98 U.S. National Development Team USDP 62 4 14 18 44 5 2 0 2 0
1998–99 U.S. National Development Team USDP 59 6 19 25 53
1999–00 Michigan State University CCHA 40 8 20 28 26
2000–01 Michigan State University CCHA 42 7 18 25 28
2001–02 Michigan State University CCHA 41 13 22 35 18
2002–03 Michigan State University CCHA 39 16 34 50 46
2002–03 Hershey Bears AHL 5 0 1 1 4 5 0 0 0 2
2003–04 Colorado Avalanche NHL 79 10 24 34 28 11 0 1 1 4
2004–05 Iserlohn Roosters DEL 17 5 6 11 24
2005–06 Colorado Avalanche NHL 82 14 35 49 44 9 1 2 3 6
2006–07 Colorado Avalanche NHL 71 14 30 44 44
2007–08 Colorado Avalanche NHL 81 6 26 32 26 10 2 3 5 2
2008–09 Colorado Avalanche NHL 75 12 27 39 31
2009–10 Colorado Avalanche NHL 59 6 25 31 30 6 1 1 2 4
2010–11 Colorado Avalanche NHL 76 6 40 46 35
2011–12 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 66 7 20 27 20
2012–13 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 32 2 9 11 4 4 0 0 0 2
2013–14 Toronto Marlies AHL 16 3 10 13 14
2013–14 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 6 0 0 0 0
2013–14 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 35 2 7 9 8
2014–15 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 57 2 20 22 14
NHL totals 719 81 263 344 264 40 4 7 11 18


Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2004 United States WCH 4th 2 0 0 0 0
2005 United States WC 6th 7 0 0 0 0
2006 United States OG 8th 6 0 2 2 2
2009 United States WC 4th 9 1 8 9 2
Senior totals 24 1 10 11 4

Awards and achievements[edit]

Award Year
All-CCHA Second Team 2000-01
All-CCHA First Team 2001-02
CCHA Best Offensive Defenseman 2001-02
AHCA West Second-Team All-American 2001–02
All-CCHA First Team 2002-03
CCHA Best Offensive Defenseman 2002-03
AHCA West First-Team All-American 2002–03
NHL All-Rookie Team 2003-04


  1. ^ "NHL'er Liles joins Ice ownership". United States Hockey League. 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  2. ^ a b "MSU PlayerBio: John-Michael Liles". Michigan State University. 2003-12-21. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  3. ^ "Ten finalists named for Hobey Baker Award". ESPN. 2003-03-22. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  4. ^ "Colorado offense dominant". ESPN. 2003-10-16. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  5. ^ Terry Frei (2004-03-05). "Liles valuable on a team of Vets". ESPN. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  6. ^ "Liles agrees to terms with Avalanche". Colorado Avalanche. 2006-07-12. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  7. ^ "Avs defenceman Liles gives up No. 26 so Stastny can wear father's number". The Hockey News. 2006-10-21. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  8. ^ "High-scoring Avs defenseman Liles to miss four weeks". ESPN. 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  9. ^ "Avalanche ride three-goal first period to victory against Kings". CBS Sports. 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  10. ^ "Avalanche re-sign defenseman Liles, Foote". TSN. 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  11. ^ Frei, Terry (2009-01-02). "Avs defenseman lighting the lamp after a poor 2007–08". Denver Post. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  12. ^ "Maple Leafs defeat Avalanche in 7-4 goal-fest". CBS Sports. 2009-02-29. Retrieved 2010-07-14.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ Terry Frei (2010-02-06). "John-Michael Liles a "healthy scratch" again". Denver Post. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  14. ^ "Liles happy with record, would rather have victory". National Hockey League. 2010-10-27. Retrieved 2011-02-22. 
  15. ^ "Maple Leafs acquire defenseman Liles from Avalanche". The Sports Network. 2011-06-24. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  16. ^ "Maple Leafs Sign Liles to four-year contract extension". The Sports Network. 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  17. ^ "Leafs D Liles clears waivers; assigned to AHL". Retrieved 2014-04-06. 
  18. ^ "Leafs Recall John-Michael Liles". Toronto Maple Leafs. 2013-12-06. Retrieved 2012-12-06. 
  19. ^ "John-Michael Liles Colorado Avalanche:Bio". Colorado Avalanche. 2005-05-10. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  20. ^ Terry Frei (2004-08-31). "Expectations lower for U.S. in hockey". ESPN. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  21. ^ "Liles, Hull score in final tuneup". ESPN. 2004-08-27. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  22. ^ Scott Burnside (2005-04-29). "U.S. Defensemen ready for their roles". ESPN. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  23. ^ "Liles named to U.S. Olympic Team". Colorado Avalanche. 2005-12-19. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  24. ^ "Never-say-die 'tude not enough for Team USA". ESPN. 2006-02-26. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  25. ^ "Liles added to U.S. National Team". Colorado Avalanche. 2010-07-14. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  26. ^ "Liles, Team USA finish fourth at WC". Colorado Avalanche. 2009-05-10. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Greg Zanon
CCHA Best Offensive Defenseman
Succeeded by
A. J. Thelen
Preceded by
Brent Burns
Minnesota Wild first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Benoit Pouliot