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Photo Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Gardiner signs four-year deal with Hurricanes

The Gardiner era in Toronto is officially over, unfortunately. The American defenceman signed a four-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes at a cap hit of $4.05-million.

The 29-year-old defenceman has spent eight years in the Leafs organization since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks back in 2011. During that time, he has played in 551 games, scored 45 goals and 245 points.

He is now joining a Hurricanes team that is stacked on the blue line already, with defensive phenoms such as Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce, Gardiner will fit right in.

The left-handed defenceman was here during the extreme highs and lows of this modern Leafs team. Going through tank years and consecutive playoff runs, Gardiner will surely be mentioned as a key contributor for who the Leafs have become in the grand scheme of the NHL.

Along with the departure of Kadri, he is now a former Maple Leaf and will be seen as a part of those years where this team was rising into being competitively relevant again.

This team is going through even more changes than predicted this spring. Whether it all works out and leads to the team staying in the playoffs beyond the first round, is still to be seen, but there will be a ton of new and exciting players to watch in the next month or so, get their first taste of being in Toronto.

Good for Jake, he deserved it.