As it turns out, the decision to send defenseman Jake Gardiner down to the Toronto Marlies was just a chance to get him some game action. The Leafs recalled the young defenseman earlier today, one day after demoting him to the minors.
One of the non-trivial advantages of NHL and AHL teams sharing the same city is the fact that the usual impediments – flights, housing, etc. – are much less of an issue. Whether Gardiner plays for the Leafs or for the Marlies, he’s still in Toronto.
The proximity of their farm team allowed the Leafs to get Gardiner into some game action at the AHL level, and still have him available for tomorrow’s game against Ottawa. Gardiner had been a healthy scratch for four consecutive games. He picked up a power play assist and two shots, and was on the ice for neither opposition goal in a 2-1 loss to Hamilton last night.
It’s a win for everybody involved. Gardiner gets some game action, the Marlies get a high level defenseman for a game, and the Leafs lose nothing in the process.