As is tradition, Jake Gardiner’s name has once again popped up in trade chatter as the deadline slowly approaches. The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons wrote a rather innocent enough account yesterday of the Leafs’ preparations for the upcoming trade deadline and stated that “just about everybody not named Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner and James Reimer may be up for grabs.”
The thing is, not everyone agrees.
Simmons’ report is not surprising in the least. All of the players mentioned are relatively young and/or relatively valuable to the franchise, and it just makes sense that Leafs brass would want to keep these players around for the foreseeable future. Say what you will about Simmons and his penchant for stirring the pot (or kicking it right over), but this is a pretty believable report.
On last night’s Sportsnet panel during the Leafs-Lightning game, though, Nick Kypreos refuted Simmons’ claim that Gardiner’s job is safe in Toronto.
“Gardiner is out there. Despite what others might be saying, he’s in play right now” – Kypreos
— Ryan (@ryanfancey) January 27, 2016
Kypreos has definitely broken some big trade news over the past few years, but this is a topic that he’s wrong about consistently. He’s been banging the “trade Gardiner” drum for a long time now, so Gardiner is either constantly in a state of being almost-dealt or Kypreos can’t seem to shake the narrative. Personally, I think it’s the latter.
Gardiner has arguably been Toronto’s best defenceman this season and is signed to a very team-friendly contract through 2019. It would make sense to deal Gardiner if the Leafs were looking to deal from a position of strength and acquire a stud forward or goaltender, but that makes very little sense for a rebuilding team.
I’m not confident that Gardiner will necessarily retire in Toronto, but there’s very little logic to moving him right now. That is, unless someone is willing to massively overpay for his services. I’m not an unreasonable man – I’d take two top ten picks this year.
Do you think Gardiner should be traded? And if so, for what?