Jake Gardiner has finally been freed. Well at least that’s what his agent would probably say. The Toronto Maple Leafs called up Gardiner on Tuesday and then sent Korbinian Holzer down to the Toronto Marlies to make room.
This move was long overdue as it has become clear that the 22-year-old defenseman is having his way with AHL opponents. Gardiner has tallied 10 goals and 31 points in 43 games with the Marlies this season. He started the NHL campaign on injured reserve after suffering a concussion with the Marlies during the lockout. Gardiner played just two games with the Leafs before being sent back down.
Holzer’s play this season could best be described as inconsistent. He had some flashes of brilliance early on, but lately he has looked over-matched on a regular basis. In 22 games this year Holzer had two goals and an assist, with a minus-12 rating. Some time with the Marlies will do him well.
Bringing Gardiner up now can hopefully help the team snap this five game losing streak. His skating ability should hopefully infuse some energy into a group that has desperately needed it at times during this rough patch.