The Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot of moves to make this summer, but things aren’t nearly as bleak as some would have you believe.
The Toronto Maple Leafs might need a goalie, and they might have a couple old vets with no-trade clauses they’d rather not have given out, but they still have the second and third best hockey players alive in the world today on their roster, so things are actually pretty good.
Additionally, the Leafs farm system is about to start paying dividends (due to the lack of big-name, high-end picks, most fans don’t seem to realize the masterful job Kyle Dubas and Friends have done assembling one of the deepest systems in the NHL), while defenseman Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren are on the verge of stardom.
No matter what they do this summer, the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to enter next season as Stanley Cup favorites along with Colorado and Tampa. My thinking is that they might as well bring back an old friend to help them along.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Jake Gardiner
Jake Gardiner – who is perhaps the most misunderstood and underrated player in the entire history of professional sports – was one of best defenseman the Toronto Maple Leafs have had in the new Century.
He played here for eight years, and his 551 career games in the Blue and White rank him 12th all-time in team history, and his 245 points make him the 10th highest scoring Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman ever. (quanthockey.com).
If the Leafs can bring him back, they should.
Jake Gardiner signed with the Hurricanes, played one season, then had to quit 26 games into his next season in order to have back surgery. He then missed all of the rest of that season, and all of this past season.
He has one year left on his current four-year $4 million cap-hit contract that he signed with the Hurricanes.
Gardiner is 31 and hasn’t played in almost two year. He clearly won’t be worth his cap hit, but if the Hurricanes were to retain half, and the Leafs could involve a third team to retain another half of what’s left, he could be a nice depth add for $1 million dollars, with virtually no risk.
Who knows, he might have a lot left to give. Either way, I’d like to see the Leafs give him a chance to come home.
The Toronto Maple Leafs don’t really need Gardiner, but I’m a huge fan and I’d enjoy seeing one of my all-time favorite players back playing where he belongs, on my all-time favorite team.