Burke will have tough decision to make on Gardiner

If Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke is serious about making a splash this week with a big trade, he is going to have to think long and hard about parting with defenceman Jake Gardiner.

That’s the feeling of several National Hockey League scouts who have had more than a few looks at the Leafs’ group of prospects, whether it’s with the big club, the Marlies, or at the junior or collegiate level.

And if the Leafs put a lot of stock in their young group, it’s clear that not every one agrees that Toronto is brimming with bluechip youngsters.

“Gardiner would be the top guy,” a Western Conference scout said. “Two or three years ago, I would have said Luke Schenn. But he has not made that next step.

“For me, Joe Colborne would be the next guy after Gardiner, but to a lesser degree. Nazem Kadri still hasn’t shown he can play with men yet.

“To do something significant, the guy he would probably have to give up is Gardiner.”

If the Leafs have concrete designs on Rick Nash or Jordan Staal, Gardiner almost certainly would have to be part of the package. Burke might get away with not using Gardiner in a swap with the Vancouver Canucks to acquire goaltender Roberto Luongo, but he still would have to attempt to find a No. 1 centre.

Gardiner surprised all with his NHL rookie season in 2011-12, playing in 75 games and recording 30 points (seven goals and 23 assists). No other freshman defenceman had as many points as Gardiner.


3 Responses to Burke will have tough decision to make on Gardiner

  1. dumbassdoorman says:

    There is no tough choice when it comes to Gardiner, if we trade him for a fwd, we will just start looking for that nect PMD, it makes no sense to just keep chasing your tail, IMO

    • Steven_Leafs0 says:

      it is true, no point trading a piece we would just turn around an trade for again. Unless of course we get someone to overpay for Gardiner and then turn the extra we got for a replacement.

  2. JoelLeafs says:

    Anyone notice that the poll shows Nash at (currently) 42.89% of the vote but he is the apparent winner? Guess Trade Man is still working out the kinks. 😉

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