Toronto Maple Leafs: Should They Trade Jake Gardiner?

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Sep 24, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner (51) carries the puck against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Torrin Batchelor

All depends on the offers for him.

Jake Gardiner has shown flashes of being a dominant puck handling D-man, capable of frustrating opposing forwards by keeping control of the puck and getting it out of trouble.

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He has also shown the propensity for massive brain cramps that result in primo scoring opportunities for the other team. He is very much a love/hate kind of player, but with Mike Babcock’s apparent love of D-men who can skate, and his relatively young age (24), he fits right into the teams rebuilding plans.

He also carries the kind of trade value at an increasingly economic $4.05M for the next four seasons.

When compared to recent big time dollars handed out to the likes of Jeff Petry, Nick Leddy, Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen – it sparkles.

The Avalanche supposedly “covet” him, so perhaps there’s a trade to be made there for the 10th overall pick, and/or a Ryan O’Reilly deal? However, the Leafs have no pressure to move him, no should they, as he is truly an asset that they can most likely coax more out of under Babcock.

If the right deal comes along, then yes, absolutely trade him – as he isn’t an integral or untouchable piece of the rebuild.

The Leafs have time with Gardiner though, and should utilize this time, especially with a very thin trade and free agent market for Dmen. Also, the ever growing need to have a solid top 6 group to be a contender (take a look at Tampa, Chicago, Anaheim and the Rangers) creates a possible bidding war for Gardiner later in the summer.

No need to move him, but they absolutely should IF they get the right kind of return.

Next: Leafs Rumors: Calls on Lupul, Others

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