Jeff Blashill makes no secret of his opinion regarding Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening.
“Glenny’s one of those unheralded guys,” Red Wings coach Blashill said. “His work ethic is unreal.
“If you want your team to have a great work ethic, you’ve got to have players that have great work ethics. His is unreal. He battles, he wins faceoffs, he blocks shots.”
Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock, Glendening’s first NHL coach, is also a fan of Glendening’s work.
“Glendening works as hard as anybody in hockey,” Babcock said. “That sets him up for success.”
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that as the Feb. 26 NHL trade deadline approaches, Glendening’s stock is on the rise and his services are in demand.
Nor should it come as a shock that the Leafs are among the suitors bidding for Glendening.
TSN reported that both the Leafs and Dallas Stars have talked to the Wings about what it would take to pry Glendening away from Detroit. And the answer they got from the Wings was quite a bit.
The Wings are looking to cut salary and add assets, mainly draft picks, and the Leafs have extra picks in the second and seventh rounds of the 2018 NHL entry draft.
The Wings signed Glendening as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and he was sent down to AHL Grand Rapids and recalled seven times during the 2013-14 season before making the NHL for good via a New Year’s Eve 2013 call up. He played the next day for Babcock’s Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium, the school where Glendening played college hockey.
Saturday, the Wings are in Nashville, but Sunday, they play host to the Babcock-coached Leafs and perhaps Glendening’s future home.
Certainly, if Babcock has any pull the Leafs will made a concerted effort to land Glendening. Toronto has been seeking a reliable fourth-line center almost for as long as the Leafs have been seeking their next Stanley Cup win. OK, it hasn’t been that long, but if you were to ask a Leafs fan, it sure seems like it has.
Babcock fell in love with Glendening because he was so capable at doing all the intangible tasks that make for a steady fourth-line center.
“As soon as I saw him, I knew he could play in the National Hockey League but I thought he’d be a fourth-line winger,” Babcock said. “I didn’t think he was going to be as important to us as he (was).
“It’s amazing when you’re competitive what can happen for you. If you’re competitive and you work every day and you live in the gym and you do things right, you get better. That’s just the way it is. So he’s maximizing his skill set and his attributes, he’s a competitive guy, he’s hard to play against.”
Glendening is versatile and can also play the wing, as he has frequently this season on Detroit’s matchup forward unit with Frans Nielsen and Darren Helm. He’s posted 8-6-14 numbers in 44 games, and leads the Wings at the faceoff dot, winning 57.8 percent of his faceoffs. Glendening ranks fifth in the NHL among players who’ve taken at least 400 draws.
Glendening’s current contract runs through the 2020-21 season and has a cap hit of $1.8 million per season.
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