I Came to Trade Gardiner Not to Bury Him

My clear headed assessment of Gardiner’s future or lack thereof with the Maple Leafs.
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  1. Ryan Michaels

    Ryan Michaels Registered User

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    “It’s a knee jerk reaction,” “let’s not have our judgement clouded by one bad game,” these will be the arguments in defense of Jake Gardiner, I’m not here to bury Jake Gardiner I’m here to try and trade him, and to convince you that it is the rationale sober minded option. Even if we forgive that in the biggest game of his life he folded like a cheap-nay a turn of the century train hopping hobo’s-suit (a pretty damn big concession that some of the sunshine, lollipop and rainbow members of the fan base will make) he still needs to go.

    The biggest problem with Gardiner is his contract status and his position on the LHS depth chart. I want you to go along with me and entertain a couple of thoughts here:

    (1) Travis Dermott will be a top 4 d man, I don’t think it’s unreasonable this happens next year(hear me out before panicking about that last point.)

    (2) Jake will seek a contract worth an excess of 4 million and not stay on as a third pairing powerplay specialist and if he did…

    (3) By the time the Leafs are contending a top 4 RHD will have been added or developed and he will likely be capable on the powerplay (ie/ Carlson or Liljiegren) and between this mystery d man, and Rielly, Jake’s hypothetical roll would be superfluous.

    (4) Burning more assets in the fashion likely done with JVR isn’t ideal unless they make noise in the playoffs next year and frankly the team won’t look hugely different and will still be in the division from Hell. The Leafs will have many cracks at this if they play their cards right, I think they must look at the long game this offseason and build towards a permanent fix on D. So even if Dermott isn’t ready to be thrown to the wolves in the top 4(although his underlying numbers against low end competition suggest he is ready for a bigger role) this is a bullet the Leafs should bite next year if the Gardiner move is for futures.

    The biggest issue with trading Gardiner is that ideally he would be swapped for a RHD, so who is available? Pretty much no one, there are pipe dreams about including Gardiner in a Doughty proposal but if the Kings trade their Norris winning defenseman it will hurt a lot more to acquire him then Jake and a couple lottery tickets. Speaking of lottery tickets however:

    Scenario 1: They can try and trade Gardiner for a top 10 pick (think the Stepan deal last season), now a Stepan(or before that Schneider) type trade requires a perfect storm and the two biggest possibilities here involve the Oilers(pick #9) and the Islanders(pick #10). However, even these are imperfect; the Oilers would be overstocked at LHD with Nurse, Klefbom and Sekera, the latter two they could look at flipping afterwards, as Gardiner fills a dire need for them as an offensive option on the back end. And the Islanders could be looking at a full scale youth movement if Tavares walks, wherein parting with a top 10 pick looks unwise, but they badly need any help they can get on defense as well.

    If the Leafs make this deal they hope one of the highly touted right RHD prospects Noah Dobson or Evan Bouchard are still on the board. Alternatively Brady Tkachuk (although his ranking fluctuates all over the top 10) would be a wonderful addition he can play left wing, if there was ever going to be a player who could knock Hyman off the top line he is the man, or center where he would solve the Leafs center issue once and for all not to mention he’d bring some much needed grit to this roster. This is definitely a move for the long game but if you pull it off you simply try to sign either a stop gap RHD or a player like Carlson, if you get Carlson you may argue the Leafs become too deep on RHD between players (include immovable object Nikita Zaistev) and prospects, to which I would ask: is there such a thing?

    Scenario 2: Trade him for an LHD who plays a different roll. Nicklas Hjalmarsson has a lot of mileage on him but he’s still only 30 and he would be a massive improvement to the roster of serviceable DFD’s. He’d help out on the penalty kill and if Hainsey finds himself on the third pairing next year these two could be relied on in key situations *cough*holding a third period game seven lead*cough* and he would be a good fall back if Dermott struggles in the top 4 since he can play up and down the lineup. Arizona GM John Chayka does this because his calculator tells him to. Hjalmarsson has a year left as well but would likely be more affordable to extend and as a shutdown defenseman would fill a roll long-term.

    Alternatively, and bear with me a second, you try to get Klefbom out of Edmonton. I know, I know, LHD depth chart, Dermott, everything else I said, etc. etc. But this is a guy who played like a number one defenseman during the 2016-2017 season and is signed long-term to just over 4 million (there is a risk here since he played very poorly this year and the Leafs would have 8 million tied up in two defensemen who fit that bill) if he regained his form the Leafs could pull off the next great fleecing of Peter Chiarelli and he does play a different style from Jake Gardiner. This is just another situation where the team ends up with a surplus of defensive talent, and maybe moves past someone at some point, but the Leafs aren’t on the clock to lose a player for nothing by this time next year so it’s certainly an improvement.

    The Oilers either make this move for the reasons listed in the first trade proposal involving them or they don’t do it because they don’t want to sell low on Klefbom...I’m kidding obviously, selling low is Chiarelli’s favorite pastime. Oilers also might be concerned about locking Gardiner up, especially at potentially a higher cap hit then Klefbom but I think between their desperation for a powerplay quarterback and Gardiner’s opportunity to light it up with McDavid the stars could align here.

    Scenario 3: Flip him for similarly aged oft-injured RHD Chris Tanev. Tanev, apparent inability to stay healthy notwithstanding, would be the perfect fit for the Leafs but I’m not sure this deal makes much sense for the Canucks who, without Tanev, would lack a high end defensive defenseman themselves and are still in their pseudo rebuild wherein it makes the most sense to part with Tanev for picks…I think…I can’t really get into the mind of Jim Benning…he is a rare breed and outside of my psychoanalytic capabilities.

    There it is my long winded, clear headed assessment of Gardiner’s future or lack thereof with the Maple Leafs. Gardiner had one of the worst big game performances ever in game 7 and it wasn’t just the one game, that was a culmination of a career of making the occasional bad play that was often overlooked in favor of the good he brings, but in the biggest pressure situation he simply could not be trusted and the Bruins had the book on him and applied the right amount of pressure to turn that “occasional bad play” into a series losing debacle. I looked at this from as objective a view point I could and I think this is the right decision, let me know if you agree.
     
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  2. Ryan Michaels

    Ryan Michaels Registered User

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    Sorry probably should have been listed as a proposal, mods fix if you can, thanks.
     
  3. SAMCRO44

    SAMCRO44 Registered User Sponsor

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    I agree he needs to be moved. They have defensive issues, keeping him doesn't address that
    Skilled guy, but not one I'd want to lock up long-term at age 28
     
  4. Nithoniniel

    Nithoniniel Registered User

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    We should be careful with Dermott. He looks good, but we have been very careful with how we use him so far. And he just came off a bad series.

    As for Gardiner's Game 7, he wasn't worse than Rielly was in the two first games. Andersen had a few games were he arguably sunk us more than Gardiner did. The same rationale should apply to them all.

    I'm sorry, but my answer to your concluding statement can't be anything else than what you mentioned to start. You are letting one game cloud your judgement. Gardiner has been a playoff performer every other game, but all of that is now turned on its head because of one game? The Bruins didn't have the book on him. They struggled against him the whole series. We had something like 60-65% of the scoring chances on our side with him on the ice, and he was on the ice a ton. Then he had a really bad game. Those happen, and saying it is because he couldn't handle the situation is trying to force a connection. It might be that, or it might be for any number of reasons. And it doesn't make sense to me. He is good normally, great in high pressure situations, but abysmal in the highest of pressure situations?

    I'm not saying we shouldn't trade him. I'm not saying we should not really question to what degree his tendency to have abysmal games can be excused. But in any scenario we get rid of him, we lose a guy who plays among the most even strength minutes in the league, while giving us good to great results while doing it. Those are some huge shoes to fill, even if the guy stepping into them don't have the same kind of lowest of lows.
     
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  5. Trapper

    Trapper Registered User

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    Let's set the record straight.
    Trade deadline: NO
    If Gardiner is not to be re-signed, move him at the draft. Do not let him walk for free. Own rental, again = NO.
     
  6. Gallagbi

    Gallagbi Formerly Eazy_B97

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    I'm open to moving him, I just think it's a bad time given the game 7 stats.

    In your scenarios - you generally downgrade from a LHD to RHD. Remember back to our Polak deal. I'm also confident that Rielly/Gardiner/Dermott can handle at least 1 RD spot moving forward.

    The Tanev deal reminds me of our Karpotsev for McCabe deal (in reverse), so I'm wary.

    Moving him for picks/assets that can then be flipped is the best option if he's moved IMO, but again, we're moving at a low value point.
     
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  7. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand #FireBabcock

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    My 2 cents:

    Jake Gardiner has been an NHL d-man for 7 years and is still prone to making high risk plays that results in team loss.
    • Pinch in Game 4 causing 2 on 1
    • Game 7 performance -5
    I doubt he is going to get better as he is mentally to weak IMO and scared of physicality (playoffs get very physical)

    He will be a pending UFA next season; do we need another "self-rental" that is prone to defensive mishaps?

    Unless the plan is to play Gardiner on the third pairing and limited mins (basically shelter him); I don't why he should be a leaf next season.

    As far as I am concerned our D should be as follows:

    Defense
    Rielly - 1D (Nylander trade+pick(s)) Doughty from kings?
    Dermott - Top4D (Gardiner replacement)
    Hainsey - Carrick/Borgman/Liljegren
    XXX

    Forwards:
    XXX-Matthews-Kapanen
    Marleau-Tavares-Brown
    Johnsson-Kadri-Marner (Shelter)
    Lievo-XXX-Hyman

    Why such moves?
    Next year is the optimal year for the Leafs to really go for it with Matthews, Marner, Kapanen, Dermott, Johnsson all on ELCs
     
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  8. SAMCRO44

    SAMCRO44 Registered User Sponsor

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    If they can move him down and give him less TOI/responsibility, he'd be good to keep (at a reasonable price/term - just not sure what that looks like)
    We know how hard it is to find d-men
     
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  9. Ryan Michaels

    Ryan Michaels Registered User

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    Thanks for the reply. I agree with you across the board here but I really don't think the one game is clouding my judgement but I also don't think we can dismiss it as one bad game. The league knows what Gardiner is and I think the Bruins zeroed in on that. Again I don't think this game is the main reason to move Jake its just a cherry on top of what is an unfortunate situation where I don't see his place with this team long-term. I think having Rielly as a potent offensive weapon as well as the eventual addition of an internal or external RHD will simply leave Gardiner as a piece we shouldn't hold onto.

    I would be nervous about Dermott carrying too big a load and the only scenario of the three where I subject him to that is the Gardiner for a draft pick trade but if you are able to land one of the three prospects I listed I think you have to pull the trigger there. As much as I love Liljegren as a prospect he is another primarily ofd so I would like to spread our eggs into different baskets.

    The bottom line is I think its bad asset management to lose Gardiner for nothing after what we have done this year and there are enough warts to his game that he is worth moving past. I appreciate his ability and contributions to the team as well as the valuable minutes he plays however, and understand that it would be a blow to the team in the short term.
     
  10. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand #FireBabcock

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    After bozak, jvr, komarov, gardiner hopefully gone Kadri is the only guy remaining from that Game 7 and Burke era (Rielly excused)

    And I don't mind keeping Kadri
     
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  11. ToneDog

    ToneDog Wait til next year

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    I was growing impatient with Gards during the season. He was awful in a couple of games but the kid owned it after game 7 and as such he gained my respect. IMO his performance in game #7 should not influence any plans Leafs had for Jake. Stay the course and for heaven's sake let's not Larry Murphy the kid if he remains a Leaf.
     
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  12. Ryan Michaels

    Ryan Michaels Registered User

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    Thanks for the reply, absolutely agree, even if we held onto Gardiner to try and ease Dermott into a top 4 role with intention to move Jake at the deadline I think we would end up in the same situation with Bozak and JVR: not wanting to take away from the team headed to the playoffs. Parting with Jake in the offseason would be a much easier pill too swallow, and really don't want to lose him for nothing.
     
  13. shortfuze

    shortfuze Registered User

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    Gardiner has more bad games then Rielly and Andersen combined. Let’s not kid ourselves. I’m not suggesting we just get rid of him. They have 2 options for this season. Trade him for a more well rounded defenceman or pick up a defenceman to insulate him.
     
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  14. Ryan Michaels

    Ryan Michaels Registered User

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    Thanks for the reply, I agree but as I mentioned I'm not sure he would take a deal that makes that make sense and if we continue to only roll 2 total dmen on the powerplay I question the need for Jake in that roll long term with Rielly as an option and with the eventual(probably inevitable) acquisition of an RHD internally or externally who likely will be skilled enough to play on the powerplay as well.

    The Tanev option is the one scenario I can see keeping Jake in this role, IF Jake agrees to a reasonable contract.
     
  15. Gallagbi

    Gallagbi Formerly Eazy_B97

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    Garbage, Andersen was bad for months/weeks on end. He's our most inconsistent player.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  16. Ryan Michaels

    Ryan Michaels Registered User

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    Eh I think moving him after a 50+ point season will likely counter game 7 insofar as low value points go. And yeah we definitely downgrade in some of these options I hear that concern but it is also to secure players for the long term as we hopefully grow Dermott into a Gardiner replacement. I firmly believe Gardiner is more than likely out of the picture after next season so to me its about recouping assets to help in the years to come.

    As for an LHD playing the right side I think that's an over Babcock's dead body type situation. Thanks for the reply.
     
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  17. Nithoniniel

    Nithoniniel Registered User

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    In total? That's kind of hard to say. None of them are exactly the picture of consistency.
     
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  18. Duke Silver

    Duke Silver Truce?

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    Trade him (+ other assets) for a RHD (OEL? Chayka loves his stats darlings. Apparently OEL is a LHD. Regardless, he'd be an upgrade.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
  19. LEAFANFORLIFE23

    LEAFANFORLIFE23 Registered User

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    The issues with your proposal is that it is ridiculous, see the Leafs need a top 4 D man, trading Jake Gardiner does not address that need, in fact trading Jake Gardiner makes that need bigger, unless he goes in a blockbuster deal to bring in an impact guy
     
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  20. Gallagbi

    Gallagbi Formerly Eazy_B97

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    Babcock has regularly used players on their off hand. Its not his ideal preference, but it's a reality given the shortage of good RD around the league.

    Hainsey this year, Rielly/Hunwick in the past, in Detroit they regularly had periods with 5-6 LHD.
     
  21. Gallagbi

    Gallagbi Formerly Eazy_B97

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    OEL is LHD.

    I do think it's a good idea to target top pairing D on bad teams. They can get a bad rep based on the people around them rather than their actual play.
     
  22. Ratboy

    Ratboy I made another funny!

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    Gardiner was a complete moron the first half of the year. He was better in the latter half but I'm sorry he just isn't smart enough to be a top 4 guy.

    We could keep him but I'm really sick of his constant braincramps and he completely shat the bed in game 7.

    You need high IQ composed players on the backend and he's just not that.
     
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  23. Daisy Jane

    Daisy Jane everything is gonna be okay!

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    Ray Ferraro said something yesterday and I think it applies here. (i'm paraphrasing here)
    In the greatest pressure your greatest deficit will be magnified.

    for the Leafs (as a whole) it was defense. Defense as a 5 man unit, defense on the backend.
    For Jake - it was his brain (and it's not a shot, because i think that's always been his issue). When Jake has time Jake is great. He can decide what he wants to do, and when he can do it. When Jake is pressured, Jake panics, and a lot of time he felt he didn't have time (when he did) and we saw a lot of the results.

    like I said. the kid is who he is. I don't think there is this higher tier the guy can climb. He's a great skater, capable of putting up a lot of points who should be buried. He's not gonna be buried here, s he's playing more than he should and when being pressured results like game seven happen (maybe not as badly but they do happen). i don't think it 'influences' but i think it should 'crystalize' what they've got.
     
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  24. Nithoniniel

    Nithoniniel Registered User

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    He has been a top 4 guy for many years now with good to great results. You might as well argue that Kadri's shot is too weak for him to score 30.
     
  25. Ryan Michaels

    Ryan Michaels Registered User

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    This would be a really good move if they could pull it off, I do wonder if this is a pipe dream acquisition but if OEL wasn't going to stay with the Coyotes and Gardiner talked extension with them it would be workable with some additions on the Leafs side. I like OEL a lot but he's still a tier below Doughty so could conceivably be had in a package without moving Nylander, it'd be tough but its possible. Thanks for the reply.

    Another scenario I wonder about is moving him for a long term solution to the third line/checking center spot as I mentioned briefly with Brady Tkachuk(who is my dream scenario if we move him for a forward), but something along the lines of Vatanen/Henrique with ideally a better player headed back our way since Jake is more established but it was hard to find the right piece. Think a guy like Backlund or Little but one that's available, I look at ROR(probably a bit too good, a bit too expensive and a bit too on a division rival) or Jordan Staal(a bit too expensive and Carolina's a bit too stacked on D).
     

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