Toronto Maple Leafs: Jake Gardiner Season Review

2 of 5

Apr 8, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner (51) falls to the during a shot attempt against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


Gardiner is as smooth of a skater as you’ll find on the Leafs – when he’s going forward. The knock on him, and it has been for a while, is that he’s horrendous defensively.

More from Editor In Leaf

He still hasn’t made the strides to improve his defensive game as anyone has hoped, although his offensive game – when it’s rolling – can mask his deficiencies to a certain extent.

When Gardiner is without the puck he often looks confused and rarely skates at more than a snails pace – usually coasting around whatever zone he finds himself in. It’s this lackluster work ethic that burns people.

His ice-time was the second lowest of his career, but still stood over 20 minutes per game on average.

He did look a lot better after Randy Carlyle was let go, but perhaps he was at the point where he didn’t want to listen to Randy Carlyle either.

Gardiner needs to work on his game on his own side of the red line. It’s that simple. If he doesn’t then he’s going to have to put up a significant amount of points – certainly more than his career high of 31 – and generate a large percentage of shot attempts for. Without defensive zone improvements he needs to spend as much time in the others as possible.

Next: Statistics