NHL Rumours: Hurricanes eye Leafs’ Gardiner

The Leafs’ previously kicked the tires of Dallas Stars centre Vernon Fiddler, whom Stars GM Jim Nill said is no longer on the block.
The Isles’ disappointing Pierre-Marc Bouchard hit the waiver wire Monday, but his $2 million price tag might be too steep.

The Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch also reports that Florida owner Vincent Viola is pressuring GM Dale Tallon for “answers” beyond moving RFA-in-waiting Dmitry Kulikov.
More goodies: The Rangers’ asking price for defenceman Michael Del Zotto is a top-four blueliner in return, which leads one to believe Del Zotto will hang around until closer to the trade deadline.
And Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford, who is offering up at least Tim Gleason, is not only interested in Del Zotto but would like to snag Toronto defenceman Jake Gardiner.
The Hurricanes have five defencemen on expiring contracts, including the stay-at-home Ron Hainsey. But with the Leafs looking for a centre, we can’t see Carolina parting with a Staal brother or Toronto wanting Manny Malhotra, whom they could have had for nothing in the off-season.


37 Responses to NHL Rumours: Hurricanes eye Leafs’ Gardiner

  1. reinjosh says:

    Gardiner has 7 points in his last 12 games, and he has 4 in his last four (in addition to being plus 4. Whew, that’s a lot of four’s lol). He hasn’t played less than 21 minutes in over 13 games, and in his last 6 he’s averaged 25 minutes of ice time. Over those 6 games, he has 14 hits, 10 shots on goal, 7 blocks, and a plus 3.

    I think it’s pretty safe to say he’s off the trade block unless an absolutely spectacular deal comes our way. This is the dominant Jake Gardiner many of envisioned in his first season. It’s a short sample size but he’s shown very good progression.

    Hell, I’m actually open to considering moving Phaneuf if the Leafs played the next game like they did last night and Gardiner plays very much the same way. Although I will say that caution needs to be seen as it’s a very small sample size without Phaneuf.

    • realistic_leafs_fan says:

      Gardiner has been much better with improved ice time. The D was very sound last night…maybe the best D-game this season from the core as a whole.
      Skaters like Rielly and Gardiner need ice time. They can’t sit on the bench and play only 17-18 mins a night, that’s more suited for the big defensive minded guys who are more physical.
      Franson and Gunnar looked quite good together as well. Franson had a great game. Ranger had a good game except for not getting enough wood on the puck on the winning goal. It wasn’t a bad pinch, he just didn’t get enough on it to get it deep in the corner.
      As for Dion. The one thing his absence showed is that the other guys play better when they get more ice and thus, more involved in the game. Dion will be most effective at about 21-23 mins a game. At least this game showed Dion doesn’t HAVE to play 25mins a night or the D will collapse like many suggest. It was only one game, but it was LA, not Florida or Buffalo.
      The D stood strong against a big, strong opponent and actually spent less time in our end than normal. Why? More puck movers playing bigger minutes on D. Guys like Gardiner, Rielly and Franson move the puck out well and quickly. They have the ability to skate it out if needed (not as much Franson obviously, but he is smart with it) which is why we spent less time defending and more time attacking.
      Dion is not a puck mover. Most top minute D in the league are good skating, puck moving guys. Guys like Bieksa, Beauchemiin, Seabrook, Alzner, Girardi, Coburn play in that 21-23 mins range of ice-time. That’s where Dion should be.
      I would also rather have Gardiner/Franson as the first PP unit and Phaneuf/Rielly the second unit. It would reduce Dion’s ice time a bit, get Franson/Gardiner/Rielly more into the game and would be a better PP.IMO
      Didn’t like the forward lines last night, but maybe had to do with Lupul’s first game back.
      Even though I am still not sold on Kadri, just too many holes in his game imo, I would like to see
      Lupul Kadri Kessel
      JVR Holland Clarkson
      Raymond McClement Kulimen
      McLaren Smith D’Amigo/Ashton
      But that’s me…

      • blaze says:

        Prett sure Dion is playing exactly how many minutes he should, best start of his career but he’s playing too much ok….

        One good game and it’s dump Phaneuf but JVR needs 82 at center before people will admit he is and always will be a winger.

        • LN91 says:

          I agree with you, it’s too fast to jump to conclusions.

          However, did you not find it ironic that Phaneuf is gone for one game and the top-4 looked incredible? (Fraser/Ranger was brutal, once again).

          They also vastly outplayed a Stanley Cup contender, I know it was a back-to-back…But Montreal is not that far away for that bad of a performance.

          The pairing of Reilly/Gardiner last night was the best performance of a D-Pairing all year.

          • reinjosh says:

            It’s not ironic, just mildly interesting. While I jumped to conclusions and suggested it could mean moving Phaneuf, I think it would be a mistake to look too far into things. Phaneuf has been simply incredible this year. He’s been one of the best dman in the entire league defensively.

            I’d like to see Gardiner/Rielly more often though. Maybe put Franson and Phaneuf together and see what happens.

            Maybe this opens up the possibility of moving Gunnarsson, which I know RLF would be happy about.

            • LN91 says:

              I would not like Franson and Phaneuf…It would be too slow. I like Gunner.

              • realistic_leafs_fan says:

                I would not be happy moving Gunnar unless the return is right for the Leafs. All I was trying to say is that Dion is not the whole defence. There is some pretty good young D on our team that may be able to handle the load. I never suggested moving Dion, or anyone for that matter, but to point out the roof didn’t cave in without him and that D-men that can skate are more involved when they get ice. Being involved with their wheels is how they get into a game. A physical guy doesn’t typically get as much ice because of what the physical play takes out of him. It is not that surprising to me, we didn’t collapse. That said, I would rather have Dion in the mix or another similar talent, but play him less and give some more ice to the puck movers.

        • realistic_leafs_fan says:

          Tell me where I even suggested to dump Dion. I didn’t even come close to trashing him at all. Most people would agree that Dion is most effective with less minutes and his own stats even back it up. Dion is not the whole team…it would be better for the TEAM if he played less and others got more ice, so they can be more effective.
          I mean, I realize you just like to trash everything I say, but at least be on target towards what I wrote when you do it. Even if I said Dion is the second best D in the League, you would have some comment about why I didn’t say he’s the first and then try and back it with some irrelevant comparison.

          • blaze says:

            Hey I’m not ragging on you just because it’s you. They have cut back on his minutes mildly and he responded with the best play of his career so I don’t think there’s any evidence at all that a further cut to 21 minutes would be beneficial.

            Carlyle doesn’t just spin the wheel and dish out ice time accordingly. When the game is on the line and Carlyle isn’t confident in his other Dman and plays Phaneuf-Gunnar he plays big minute games. The other Dman have struggled early and need to step up Carlyle himself has said as much.

            They played well against LA, but then again so did the whole team. If Toronto wants to suceed they need those guys to play better but that doesn’t mean cutting back the minutes of your best Dman. 24 minutes a night seems perfect.

  2. reinjosh says:

    I also want to make a point about our biggest strength…our speed. It’s something we need to be very careful about not losing. Last night we exposed the Kings for their lack of speed, and last season in the playoffs, this was the key to us giving the Bruins so much trouble.

    THe Kings and the Bruins might be bigger than most teams, and they might have fantastic possession games, but those things only work to their advantages when they can keep up with other teams. The Leafs biggest strength against them is speed.

    That is the key to our success. Losing that will be a big problem.

    • leafs_wallace93 says:

      Yeah, you read a lot of trade rumors and it seems like people want the Leafs to trade speed to bring in forwards that can cycle the puck and slow physical blueliners. Then I see the flat footed Regehr and Mitchell and think, no thank you.

      We did look better without Dion last night, if he can bring a significant return, I’d be happy with a culture change on this team. Dion and Nonis really reminds me of Nonis letting Jovanovski walk with the Canucks. Don’t see him long for this team.

      • LN91 says:

        If I got a deal similar to what Minnesota got for Brent Burns…I would deal Phaneuf. That was King’s ransom for Minny.

        • reinjosh says:

          What teams would be interested?

          Let’s assume that the Leafs retain 50 percent salary to make him more attractive. Utilizes the competitive advantage of MLSE’s money. Brings the Leafs to 3 retained salaries, and 14.8 percent of the cap, both which fall within the range of the retention rules.

        • mapleleafsfan says:

          The return was huge at the time, but if Minny could go back on that trade i bet they would. Coyle and picks are nice, but setoguchi is crap and Burns is one of the best power forwards in the league. I’d kill to have him on the Leafs.

          But yea, at the time if you can get a return that big, you probably pull the trigger.

          • LN91 says:

            I doubt they would…It truly sparked the rebuild process in Minny. It cut salary for them to sign Parise and Suter as well, which they are pretty pleased with. It also probably persuaded them to draft Brodin, who has been excellent for them.

            Setoguchi was a wash, he was never going to be there long-term.

            Coyle/Phillips will pay off as long-term options.

          • reinjosh says:

            Maybe not. Coyle is growing very nicely into a very good power forward (and I believe they are starting to use him at center too), and he doesn’t have injury issues like Burns.

            Plus it’s likely they would have lost Burns anyways. Would he have wanted to resign with them?

            I think they made the right decision.

      • reinjosh says:

        I’ve seen that theory before about Dion and Nonis, and comapring it to JovoCop and Vancouver. It’s intriguing. Last nights game has me open to the possibility, although still a little against it.

        Theoretically it could be a big move for the team, albeit it a very bold high risk move. Moves the captaincy on(likely to Lupul), and changes the culture up. Phaneuf would likely return a pretty good package, one that would help the prospect pool no doubt (whether in more picks or in prospects), and the cap space could bring intriguing opportunities to the team.

        But the risk would be that losing him would destroy the defense. He’s playing the best defensive hockey of his career, and one game isn’t enough to change how important he’s been to the team. But it opens, ever so slightly, the possibility that the team could survive without him.

        I’d be interested in what others think about moving him, just theoretically of course.

        • LN91 says:

          I would probably trade him for a top-4 D-Men or top-six forward, great prospect, and a 1st round pick.

          What Minny got for Brent Burns or Anaheim got for Pronger (Pronger fetched more).

          For example, using a popular Leafs trade partner and a team that could use better D:

          – Sbisa
          – Etem
          – Ottawa or Anaheim 1st.

          If no good offers come along, better off keeping him.

          • leafs_wallace93 says:

            Could you try to rape NYI and pry a prospect from them in their desperation to make the playoffs? If the Leafs retain a couple million and NYI without a pick would they give up a prospects? It would be a very NYI type deal.

            • LN91 says:

              They would love Phaneuf or Gardiner in a deal…But I doubt they would necessarily lost it as: 1) Tavares is a tremendous 1C and 2) Strome or Brock Nelson can fill that 2C role in the future.

              If I was them, I would deal Vanek again…Generate tons of depth with that deal. They need that, along with a 1st pairing D and a goalie.

  3. leafy says:

    I like the way the Leafs played last night against L.A. Now that’s more like it.

    I don’t care about the loss. Lots of games left. If they play like that, they will win many more than they lose.

    Question is, will the Leafs play like that consistently, or was that just a blip?

    • mapleleafsfan says:

      Crap, one of the only games I’ve missed so far. The highlights were crazy, Jones had 5 or 6 awesome saves. Does every goalie who plays in LA just become a god or what?

      That has to be our best shot differential game all season as well. Would be really nice if they can keep it up.

    • LN91 says:

      We’ll learn tonight against St. Louis eh? They are the best team in hockey right now.

      If Toronto manages to stay close with them all game, or even outshoot them, it’s not a blip.

      However, tougher game….St. Louis is a tough place to play on a back-to-back.

  4. mapleleafsfan says:

    There are no pieces on the Canes I would give significant assets for other than Faulk and Eric Staal, neither of which will be traded. Skinner would be nice I guess, but he’s a smurf with injuries and I have no interest in giving up our top assets for another winger. That said, I agree with Josh. No chance Gardiner goes now unless the return is ridiculous – and that definitely takes Carolina out of the equation.

  5. LN91 says:

    Keep the lines for tonight, all of them played very well:

    Lupul-Holland-Kulemin (Excellent last night)

    Pylon A-Pylon B


  6. leafs_wallace93 says:

    Just saw highlights and glad I don’t have LeafsTv, I don’t need to see them suck against sucking team (CBJ, Nashville anyone?).

    Oh well, it’s dreadember, if this is the real Leafs (I’d expect any other team to at least steal a win but it’s Toronto, and they find way to fall apart). This isn’t Bozak’s fault, he’s hurt, not Clarkson’s fault he’s been competitive. I’m at peace with no Phaneuf, despite him playing well, it’s time for a core shake up IMO. Tap reset and push the kids harder, bring in JML and try to hold the puck longer. We’re just not quite there yet, small step back, slip and pull a Montreal and maybe end up with a Galchenyuk type draft pick.

  7. LN91 says:

    Do you consider Backes a first-line center?

    He was dominant tonight, destroyed the Leafs.

  8. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    The odd thing about last night is…we didn’t get outshot as bad as normal and except for Fraser/Ranger, the D was not bad. I was really hoping for Kadri to step it up with this opportunity, but he is just horrible in his own end and on the backcheck. He looks lost out there in his own end and his defensive zone coverage, or lack of, caused two goals against. I really want him to do well, as we need a top line centre, but he has done nothing to change my mind that he is a smallish, 2nd line centre that will put up points but be a defensive liability. I’m not trashing him, it just is what it is.
    Bernier and Reimer have to be better as well. I am shocked that no one has mentioned that if Bernier could have made a big save in the LA game, we might have won. He was good, but when we needed the big save, especially the Carter goal, it wasn’t there.
    Beyond the obvious centre woes, I still say (yes I know a lot disagree) that we need to get bigger. We need some size up-front that can cycle. Not more McLaren’s or Orr’s, but minimum 3rd liner with cycle ability. Clarkson is about the only guy we have that wins battles and controls the puck in the offensive end. We also need a nasty d-man that can play top 4 if needed. Those two things won’t solve all the problems, but they are a step in the right direction.

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