Conflicting Reports: Jake Gardiner may or may not be on the trade block

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.

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?

  • jimithy

    The Leafs have a long history of giving up on players too soon. I hope the management gives Babcock some time to work with Gardner. Develop is the second half of ‘Draft and Develop’

    • silentbob

      If the Leafs want a big return they need to have a big, valuable asset to offer/dangle. They aren’t going to move Rielly or Nylander or Marner or their early picks, so the biggest piece of bait they can put out there is Gardiner (who probably isn’t on the same level of importance as those guys). Why not see if anyone is going to bite?

      @Brandon – First, you can go through every team and find examples of them giving up on players who later became great. Just because a player flourishes with a team they were traded too doesn’t mean they would have with their original team. Second, Gardiner is 25 years old and has played almost 300 NHL games (all with the Leafs), that is MORE then enough to time for a franchise to get a handle on what a player is. We need to stop treating Gardiner like a 19 year old player who is still developing – given his age and experience, Gardiner is really at the point were, this is the player he is.

    • Courtesy of Steve Simmons. I assume every bridge has burnt with the organization and he’s speculating with his own heavily flawed logic.

      As for Gardiner being available, I’d assume in the sense that teams would be calling for him and the Leafs would be foolish to not listen on everybody. If Gardiner were traded (unlikely) I’d hope to hell it would be a hockey trade, as he’s combination of age and skill aren’t worth losing for a mystery box.

  • kypreos actually made simmons look intelligent here. give it up. gardiner isn’t being traded. they really like him. he’s not going anywhere. he’s been shopping kadri and gardiner from day 1. who’s trading a top 6 centre and top 4 defenceman? no one. we don’t have strength on defence so this is a stupid rumour and waste of a story tbh. i’m sick of seeing gardiner being thrown into trade talks when he’s been our best defencemen for a long time. we would be stupid to get rid of one of the few stud defencemen we actually have.

  • BarelyComments

    Reiner being untouchable seems ridiculous, I know everyone’s opinions of goalies swing violently in this city but I’m of the strong opinion that Bernier and Reimer are nearly identical in terms of what they are going to provide the team going forward, they’re average goaltenders that tend to get really hot for a bit and then pretty cold.. why would you try and force a trade for the guy who has sub .900 SV% in a down year (he already has rebounded) instead of taking advantage of the inflated value Reimer has at the moment??? Hate to brake it to everyone but he is fine to good… Not Carey Price.

  • MatsSundin#13

    I would have to think Gardiner’s trade value is as high right now as it has ever been, seeing as this has been his best season (admittedly, I am only going off the eye test here but he looks more defensively sound and his skating last night especially was awesome). I would be ok with the Leafs trading him, but it would have to be a significant return because we don’t seem to have many “puck moving” d-prospects in the pipeline right now.

  • silentbob

    Everyone has to be out there if the return is right…but I would need to blown away by this one. I think Gardiner has been given a bad rap by a lot of people despite being really really good on a terrible team.

    That said, i like the idea of getting big youth and pick return for a guy who would seriously help a contender.

  • Harte of a Lion

    Kypreos is a moron and I’m glad someone clocked him before last nights game…
    I would trade every player including my beloved Uncle Leo if there was an overpayment by the other team however what would be an overpayment for a player like Gardiner or Rielly?
    This kid (Rielly) will be a top 5 in the league. It’s taken some time for him to grow into his body and he finally has a coach that teaches. Everyone must remember that his first year in the NHL he was 18 months removed from a serious knee injury and he only played 18 games his draft year.(plus 5 in the playoffs)
    Had he played that whole year he might have gone top 3 and he appears to be the best d-man of his draft year to date. Burke got one right and it takes a bit of the sting away from sending 2 picks to the Ducks (30 & 39/ Rakell and Gibson) for Tyler Biggs…OUCH!!!

    Would a teams top prospect and a top ten 1st round pick be enough for a Rielly or a Gardiner?
    2 x 1st round picks plus?

    Washington needs Uncle Leo so….
    Komarov and a 3rd for Bowey and Samsonov? Watched Bowey play against the Marlies and I would love to see him paired with Reilly while Samsonov would save the lack of goalie depth.

    Komarov gives them a winger (Ovies buddy) who can play anywhere in the lineup, hits, skates, scores and even wins face offs.

    As I have argued with Justin before, The things Komarov brings to a team CAN NOT BE EASILY REPLACED and his cap is only $2.9 million.
    I hope to see him in the post season next year wearing a Leaf jersey.

    • not_SorjeBalming

      are you crazy or just insane? in what way is komarov worth a potential top 4 offensive defenceman with some physicality and a projected starting goalie?! getting a late 1st round pick + prospect for komarov would be a steal because he’s having a career year but he’s cooled down considerably since his tear. we aren’t getting washington’s top prospects.

      • Harte of a Lion

        I am crazy and insane, but then so are most of the NHL general mangers who believe they are close to s cup.

        Unless we get a huge overpayment, Uncle Leo isn’t going anywhere, and what’s wrong with dreaming a best case scenario.
        It’s amazing what some teams will pay for what they believe will be the piece that will put their name on the Stanley Cup.

        2015 Deadline deals
        Rangers paid for Yandle 1st, 2nd, Duclaire and spare parts
        Capitals paid for Glencross 2nd, 3rd
        Kings paid for Andrej Sekera, 1st, and prospect Roland McKeown
        Predators paid for Santorelli and Franson, 1st and Leipsic
        Penguins paid for Winnick, 2nd, 4th
        Lightening paid for Braydon Coburn 1st, 3rd, Radko Gudas
        Bruins paid for Brett Connolly two 2nds
        There were some minor pieces going the other way in some of these trades but the point I am making is teams OVERPAY to get the piece they want.
        I think Komarov brings more to a team than any of those players listed above so a late first and a good prospect is not crazy…

        Washington is set in goal for years so Komrov and a 3rd for Bowey (a good but not an “A” prospect) and Samsonov is an overpayment by Washington, but it’s comparable to other deadline deals…

  • silentbob

    I hope they don’t trade him but I think a Top 10 pick would be a fair return for Gardiner. At the very least a Top 15.

    Kid’s turning out to be a stud now that he’s controlling all that raw talent.

  • STAN

    I think it all comes down to Babcock, not Shanahan, not Lou, not Hunter.

    If Babcock thinks he can turn Gardiner’s raw talent and skating ability into a first-class, shutdown defender, he’ll beg his bosses to keep him.

    Personally I think he wants at least one more season with Gardiner.

    We’ll see.

  • Benjamin

    Forget development, Gardiner is a fantastic defenceman right now. Top pairing on a good team.

    A deal centred around Gardiner for O’Rielly made sense before the trade to Buffalo. We’d need a similar calibre young forward coming back to consider trading Jake.

  • I think Reimer could be ‘untouchable’ if Toronto wants him to be their goaltender for the next several years and believes that they can get him under contract at a reasonable number. That doesn’t really surprise me.

    • Gary Empey

      I think the Leafs liked what they seen from Sparks when he came up. So it looks to me that their first choice is to move Bernier and sign Reimer. I am not sure what they will do if they can’t move Bernier. I doubt they would want to pay number one goalie money to two goalies. I doubt they would like to lose Reimer for nothing.

      It seems strange to have any position on this team jammed up.

  • Gary Empey

    All will really know for sure is Bernier and Winnik are actually on the trading block.

    Being 4th worst team last year, now tied for worst team in the NHL I find it very difficult to assess the real trade value of anyone on the team.

    As for offers that blow us away, I don’t foresee any in the near future.

    As for Gardiner it is very likely other GM’s have asked about his availability. It is even more likely they would like to send us a piece of crap they want to get rid of.

  • magesticRAGE

    Like with most of you, I’d need to have my doors blown clear off my house to deal Gardiner. If the Leafs were a contending team and desperately needed offense, then deal him. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense, especially for a rebuilding team.

    I’d like to see some of the analytical data on Marincin, not completely sold on him.

    • Gary Empey

      Don’t waste a moment of your time reading analytical data on Marincin. He is the worst defenceman on the worst team in the NHL. Babcock develops a twitch ever time he is on the ice. That is all you need to know.

      PS. Your doors are safe.

    • Benjamin

      Marincin tilts the ice in the Leafs favour. And he does a much better job of it than his teammates. That’s all you really need to know.

      But if you want more, he’s a very good 3rd pairing guy right now. He’s cheap and will remain cheap because of his lack of points (which defencemen don’t need). He’s young.

  • jimithy

    Gardiner doesn’t want to be a Leaf and doesn’t want to be in Toronto. Get rid of him. For anyone or anything. Preferably for someone who can pass the puck to his teammates not to the other team. There is really something wrong upstairs with that guy.

    • not_SorjeBalming

      I think the whole analytics crowd is in love with his Corsi numbers and forget that he only has 15 points and is suspect defensively a lot of the time.

      He really doesn’t do anything very well IMHO. He doesn’t score or set up his team…he doesn’t shut down the opposition very well (he is 2nd pairing) and for some reason we are calling him our best D-man.

      You know the old saying: “Jack of all trades…master of NONE” ….I think they thought of Jake when they came out with that one!!