With the intense cap situation, it seems to be the Jake Gardiner‘s days in Toronto are over. The 29-year-old defenseman had played with the Maple Leafs for 8 seasons, competing in 551 games with 45 goals and 200 assists for 245 points. He’s seen 26 playoff games and has 2 goals with 10 assists for 12 points with a -9 rating.
Gardiner is a player that can put in the time on the ice but he had some struggles with the Leafs this year, alongside the teams cap mess, that has left him out to dry as a UFA.
Jake Gardiner played in 62 games last season with 3 goals and 27 assists for 30 points and a +19 rating. He blocked 64 shots, laid out 61 hits, had 25 takeaways, and 53 giveaways all while averaging 21:13 on the ice. Gardiner moves the puck well but he makes mistakes here and there that leave him liable on the ice. Yet he’s is influence and a smart, veteran player that has the potential to help push a team deep into the playoffs.
There are a number of teams that can benefit from having a puck moving defenseman like Gardiner but it seems like the Montreal Canadiens are close to signing him. Mike Johnson said, on NHL Network, that the Habs can be signing Gardiner soon. The team still has $4,044,524 in projected Cap Space so signing Gardiner for a little less on a one-year would be a benefit to both Gardiner and the Canadiens.
The Canadiens have missed out on the playoffs for the last 2 seasons and they’re hungry to get back to the post-season. The team did significantly better last season compared to the season prior: Habs finished 29-40-13 in 2017-2018 but improved to 44-30-8 in 2018-2019. Acquiring Gardiner can help this team get back to where they want to be.