Toronto Maple Leafs: Should They Trade Jake Gardiner?

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Jan 2, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner (51) skates with the puck in the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Minnesota Wild win 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Chiasson

If I’m the front office team I’m listening very closely if teams call on Jake Gardiner.

There’s no questioning he brings a positive possession game to the table – and Mike Babcock might be able to salvage his defensive game – but he’s still a project at age 25 (in July) and this will be his third full-time coach in Toronto.

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He didn’t get along with Ron Wilson and it seemed like he had issues with Randy Carlyle. That’s not a good trend.

That doesn’t mean I think they should give him away, though. If Colorado called and offered their 10th overall pick I’d pack Jake’s bags for him. If Toronto could end up with, say, Zach Werenski for the future instead of Jake Gardiner I think it’d be better for the rebuild.

If they could get a later first round pick + a prospect he’d be gone there, too.

If the Toronto Maple Leafs can’t get an adequate return for him then it’s probably worthwhile to see what Mike Babcock can do with him. Toronto doesn’t have to trade anyone right now so they hold the cards on a Jake Gardiner trade.

It comes down to how bad a team wants him, and what the return will be. A top ten pick in this draft is very valuable. In five years when the Leafs are ready, hopefully, to legitimately compete would you rather have a 30 year old Jake Gardiner, or a 23 year old top prospect like Werenski?

Next: Cynthia Bin's Thoughts