RALEIGH, N.C. - With his previous employer, Joe Corvo was often deployed in a shutdown role, matched against opposing top lines. The Bruins’ puck-moving defenseman acknowledges it wasn’t his favorite calling.
“I don’t really like that,’’ said the former Carolina Hurricane. “The fun part of the game for me is the offensive part, to be in the offensive zone. When you’re playing shutdown, you’re spending a lot of time in the neutral zone or your own zone. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do.’’
Corvo’s skills weren’t the primary reason ex-coach Paul Maurice used him in a matchup role. It was because of the game of Tim Gleason, Corvo’s former partner.
In the 2008-09 Stanley Cup playoffs, when Carolina upset the Bruins in the second round, Gleason and Corvo often took the ice at the same time as the Hurricanes’ top gunners. Then, as now, Gleason was Carolina’s most effective defensive defenseman.
That is why the hard-nosed Gleason should be in play prior to the Feb. 27 trade deadline. The Bruins, among others, most likely will be in the mix for Gleason’s services.
Gleason has one goal and 11 assists in 46 games for the Hurricanes, who beat the Bruins, 4-2, last night. He was averaging 20:47 of ice time per game.
Gleason, who will turn 29 this month, will be an unrestricted free agent by year’s end. His game, combined with Carolina’s situation, make him a candidate to have a new address.
“He’s a guy who can do a lot of things,’’ Corvo said. “He can be your No. 1 or 2 D-man to shut down lines. He’s very good defensively. He’s physical, which is a good asset. It’s going to make forwards think twice about going for pucks in the corners. He’s a tough guy and a tough guy to play against.’’
According to capgeek.com, Gleason is in the last year of a contract that carries a $2.75 million cap hit. The Bruins could afford to absorb that, even without placing Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve.
Also, because of the uncertainty of the next collective bargaining agreement and the six UFAs-to-be on the roster (Corvo, Chris Kelly, Johnny Boychuk, Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, and Gregory Campbell), the Bruins would prefer to add expiring contracts.
General manager Peter Chiarelli and Carolina counterpart Jim Rutherford have a trading history. On July 5, 2011, the Bruins acquired Corvo for a 2012 fourth-round pick. On July 24, 2009, the Bruins traded Aaron Ward to the Hurricanes for Patrick Eaves and a 2010 fourth-rounder.
The Bruins won’t be the only contenders interested in Gleason.
The left-shot defenseman is known for being a steady presence on and off the ice. Rutherford most likely will entertain multiple offers and play them against each other to drive up the price.
Caron gets second look
Jordan Caron, recalled from Providence Thursday, appeared in his second straight game last night. Caron skated on the third line alongside Kelly and Rich Peverley. In Thursday night’s 2-1 win over Montreal, Caron scored on his first shift. Last night, Caron had one shot in 10:21 of ice time.
Zach Hamill was scratched in favor of Caron.
“One is smaller and really skilled; the other guy’s bigger,’’ said coach Claude Julien, comparing Hamill with Caron. “One is a center and right wing. The other one’s a left wing. It’s a little bit of everything.’’
Skinner sits again
The Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner missed his 16th straight game last night because of a concussion. Skinner was hurt Dec. 7 when the Oilers’ Andy Sutton walloped him with a clean hit. Carolina coach Kirk Muller hinted that Skinner might play today against Washington. “He’s really close to coming back,’’ Muller said . . . The Bruins didn’t allow a power play last night. Milan Lucic and Bryan Allen went off for matching slashing minors at 19:07 . . . Dennis Seidenberg and Campbell were on the ice for two Carolina goals, including the game-winner . . . Brad Marchand served the third game of his five-match suspension. Marchand is on the road trip and participated in an optional morning skate yesterday.