Jake Gardiner has been getting churned through the Toronto Maple Leafs trade rumor mill all season long, and talks surrounding him appear to be heating up. Among the teams that are vying for his services appear to be the Calgary Flames and the newcomers in the Colorado Avalanche.
Eklund of hockeybuzz.com reported yesterday that a talks between the Leaf and the Philadelphia Flyers had cooled, but that the Flames were still very much interested in the young offensive-defenseman.
As per his column:
…sources tell me that the Flyers aren’t any real hurry to make another trade with Toronto where they send one of their young forwards to the Leafs for a defenseman… The Calgary Flames on the other hand do have interest in Gardiner and I was told to be alert as to a possible deal between the two squads happening before American Thanksgiving.
The rumor guru gave a quick update on the situation this morning, and added that the Avalanche appear to be in play for Gardiner as well, but mentioned that the Flames “still may lead the way on this one.”
It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of all of this chatter. Gardiner showed that he can be a solid defender during the playoffs last season, but Toronto might not be able to keep him around for cap reasons. Plus it appears that they’ve soured on his potential for whatever reason, and don’t see him as much more than a puck-moving defender.
We’ve seen players with similar reputations develop in phenomenal talents on the back end over the last several seasons though, so the price for Gardiner is likely to be high.
While Calgary’s interest in him is for obvious reasons, Colorado calling Toronto about the youngster provides an interesting wrinkle. Head coach Patrick Roy seems to be adept at getting the most out of his blue line at the moment, but defense was viewed as a weakness heading into this season.
Regardless, a change of scenery seems to be coming for Gardiner. While this is all speculation, there’s some smoke here and it could lead to a fire. Or a trade.