NHL

Liles chooses Leafs over free agency

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TORONTO (AP)

Defenseman John-Michael Liles signed a $15.5 million, four-year extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

Liles has four goals and 21 points in 34 games this season and is OK with the notion he might've passed up a more lucrative deal as a free agent.

''Some guys choose to go the unrestricted route, but it's a pretty special feeling when Burkie (Leafs GM Brian Burke) went out and traded for me and knowing that he wants me there for years to come,'' Liles said.

''As far as money goes, you could say that you leave some on the table. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't; . . . but I'm looking at it as I was negotiating a contract to stay in a place I wanted to be and play on a team I wanted to play on and live in a city I wanted to live in.

''It feels great. It's a place that's grown very dear to my heart, a place I was excited about getting traded to this summer.''

The 31-year-old is in the final year of a contract that carries a cap hit of $4.2 million.

Liles has been sidelined since Dec. 22 with a concussion and is expected to return to the lineup after the All-Star break.

In 557 games with the Avalanche and Leafs, he has 72 goals and 296 points.

Tagged: Avalanche, John-Michael Liles

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