File Photo. Defeseman Brennan Turner (4) battles with South Carolina's Mick Berge and Tommy Maxwell (26) for the puck in a game during the 2008-09 season. The Gwinnett Gladiators traded to bring Turner back to the team Tuesday.
DULUTH — The Gwinnett Gladiators dealt Drew Paris to Elmira in order to bring another big defenseman, Brennan Turner, back to the team.
It was just one of several significant transactions Tuesday.
Defenseman Matt Krug was recalled to AHL Chicago, where he is under contract, and will then be assigned to Elmira. The Jackals are sending rookie forward Dustin Cameron to Gwinnett in exchange.
Atlanta Thrashers prospect Akim Aliu, acquired in the big summer trade with the Chicago Blackhawks, is also being assigned to the Gladiators.
All three players are expected to arrive before the team leaves Thursday night on a road trip to Kalamazoo.
“I think it makes us a much better team,” head coach Jeff Pyle said.
Turner played 40 games for the Gladiators in 2008-09 when Gwinnett was briefly affiliated with the Blackhawks, who drafted him in 2005. After that season, when Turner’s NHL contract expired, Pyle had the chance to sign him as a free agent.
“I passed up on Turnsie a year and half ago because I thought he would be up (in the AHL) so much,” Pyle said. “But I’m not going to pass on him again.
“Turnsie is a physical force. He’s a No. 1 defenseman at this level. He has that toughness. It’s a big difference back there.”
In order to get the 6-foot-3, 220-pound blueliner, though, Pyle had to give up one of his top defensemen. Paris was an ECHL All-star last season and started the season with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
“Drew is a great kid,” Pyle said. “I’ve got not one gripe about Drew. This is just one (move), I feel the way our team is right now, we need more of physical presence.
“And Drew gets to go to a team that plays a little more offensively, which probably suits him.”
Cameron is a 21-year-old out of the major junior Western Hockey League. After putting up 57 points in each of his last two seasons with Prince Albert, Cameron has been used somewhat sparingly in Elmira and has just seven points in 24 games. Pyle plans to use him more liberally.
“We lack a guy that’s got a little bit of bite,” Pyle said. “He scored some goals in WHL. Turnsie said he’s a good, hard-working young kid. Which I like.
“That’s the kind of team we are and have to be.”
Aliu was coming to Gwinnett on Tuesday and Pyle said he would skate with the team today. The big 21-year-old winger has nine points in 43 games with AHL Chicago this season, but did see time with ECHL Toledo as a rookie last year. At that level, he was good for nearly a point per game.
“The kid has talent,” Pyle said. “I don’t know what kind of chance he got in Chicago, but I’m going to motivate him.”
Also on Tuesday, forward Tim Miller was recalled to Chicago where he has played two games already this season. But Miller and Andy Brandt, who is in AHL Manitoba, could end up skating in this weekend’s games for Gwinnett.
With those two back and defenseman Tim Filangieri nearly ready to come off injured reserve, the Gladiators could be looking at an exceedingly strong lineup for the season’s final 10 weeks.