Toronto Maple Leafs: Jake Gardiner Season Review

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Oct 25, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner (51) during their game against the Boston Bruins at Air Canada Centre. The Bruins beat the Maple Leafs 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Future

Gardiner was able to avoid the majority of trade rumors this season because everyone was too concerned with trading everyone else.

He has the skill-set to be a very valuable player from the back-end, but it needs polishing. I’m not so sure he’s going to have a very long leash if he doesn’t produce results starting next season. Kyle Dubas is an analytics guy and he’ll be watching Gardiner closely I would imagine.

There are benefits to having Gardiner around even with shoddy defensive zone play but as the team progresses as a whole in possession it will become harder for Gardiner to stand out.

That being said I can’t see a scenario where Gardiner his dealt in the off-season. The Maple Leafs have bigger fish to fry on the trade market this year and Gardiner’s potential to be something great is still there.

I’m one of Gardiner’s biggest critics, and I would have traded him several times already out of spur the moment frustration, but the slightest bettering of his own zone play will make him extremely valuable. His potential to exceed the value of his cap hit is there with the right development.

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