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  1. #1
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    Would Jake Gardiner To LW Make Us Better?

    This thought just came across my head because I am of the belief that you can't have both Rielly and Gardiner on this defense core if you want to win. Even though I love their skating and their potential, the risks Gardiner takes as a defensemen are just crazy and puts way too much strain on the forward group that's out there. What I was thinking was moving Gardiner to LW and trading Lupul as part of a package for something else.

    Before you call me crazy, Gardiner played forward all the way until the end of his first year of college I believe, and his skill set could be dynamite if you have him flying up the wing like Kessel. He could also come back and be the "help" guy in the defensive zone now that he's played D for 4 or 5 years. For this I looked at how much better defensively Winnipeg got by moving big Buff back to forward and really think it could have the same benefit with Gardiner. Gardiner also isn't a small guy, and he's shown in the offensive zone that he can create a lot. I think he scores 20-25 easy with a full season at LW but I'm interested to see what others think.
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  2. #2
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    I would try it. But his mobility is more valuable on the defensive side than the forward side.

    If the Leafs do trade Dion, then i want Rielly - Gardiner - Percy/Finn on the left side for the future. Leafs needs to draft or trade for steady RHD regardless of what happens though.

    To move Gardiner to the LW, i would have to see how his defense translates to forward. If he's not better than Lupul then it makes no sense imo. He won't out score Lupul either imo. I think ignoring the players... having a rover type player at the LW (with the ability to backcheck for a pinching defenseman) as opposed to having a roving defenseman would help this teams structure. Not that Gardiner is bad, just that if we're going to have a player out of position, i don't want it to be a defenseman. Bonus would be having a skater like Gardiner on the backcheck. It might be an interesting thing to try imo, but you might ruin his development.

    It's hard to have a LW out of position, but defenseman are out of place all the time. Especially on this team.

  3. #3
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    Leafs arenīt trading Dion. Unless he and Shanahan really butted heads, thereīs no way. How is this team going to get better by trading away itīs only top Defender? Youīll never get close to getting decent value in return. And youīre only ripping yet another hole into you back end. All around stupid idea!

    Anyway, to the point: Gardiners three problems are picking his spots when pinching, physical contest (board play etc.) and defensive zone awareness. When he gets the puck in his own end and thereīs a crowd, he doesnīt know what the hell to do with it. If he canīt skate it out of trouble, itīs a sure turnover.
    And thatīs the kind of stuff that I donīt think you can learn anymore at his age. He looks like a forward playing D way to often.

    So if you can get good value for him: trade him. If you canīt (which Iīm guessing) try to get good value for Lupul, maybe a Nr. 2 D-man, and at least try Gardiner out on the wing. Iīm not worried about his defensive play as a forward, he can skate so well, itīs a matter of determination. The only problem could be his play in tight. He kinda puts his speed to use when heīs got space. Heīs not gonna get that much space as a forward. That would be interesting to see. But Iīm all for trying it out!

  4. #4
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    I always thought of this too. It's a very realistic possibility though I don't think Carlyle does it nor do I think Nonis and company want it to happen.

    Burke said that he thought of it when he was here and that he almost considered telling to coach to give it a shot. Gardiner has the size, offensive IQ and speed to be an effective winger but I don't think it happens.

    He's still young and I hope to God the Leafs keep Gardiner. Seeing that Carlyle is here and staying the chances of them trading him are higher than ever.


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Showt1me View Post
    Leafs arenīt trading Dion. Unless he and Shanahan really butted heads, thereīs no way. How is this team going to get better by trading away itīs only top Defender? Youīll never get close to getting decent value in return. And youīre only ripping yet another hole into you back end. All around stupid idea!

    Anyway, to the point: Gardiners three problems are picking his spots when pinching, physical contest (board play etc.) and defensive zone awareness. When he gets the puck in his own end and thereīs a crowd, he doesnīt know what the hell to do with it. If he canīt skate it out of trouble, itīs a sure turnover.
    And thatīs the kind of stuff that I donīt think you can learn anymore at his age. He looks like a forward playing D way to often.

    So if you can get good value for him: trade him. If you canīt (which Iīm guessing) try to get good value for Lupul, maybe a Nr. 2 D-man, and at least try Gardiner out on the wing. Iīm not worried about his defensive play as a forward, he can skate so well, itīs a matter of determination. The only problem could be his play in tight. He kinda puts his speed to use when heīs got space. Heīs not gonna get that much space as a forward. That would be interesting to see. But Iīm all for trying it out!
    The bold is an interesting point, I agree he tends to struggle a bit in closed quarters but if Kadri takes a step forward next year he could open up some space.

    Quote Originally Posted by LuckyLuke2 View Post
    I always thought of this too. It's a very realistic possibility though I don't think Carlyle does it nor do I think Nonis and company want it to happen.

    Burke said that he thought of it when he was here and that he almost considered telling to coach to give it a shot. Gardiner has the size, offensive IQ and speed to be an effective winger but I don't think it happens.

    He's still young and I hope to God the Leafs keep Gardiner. Seeing that Carlyle is here and staying the chances of them trading him are higher than ever.
    I agree, I just really wish they would try it though, at least in pre-season and see how they like it.
    If you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaysLeafs98 View Post
    The bold is an interesting point, I agree he tends to struggle a bit in closed quarters but if Kadri takes a step forward next year he could open up some space.

    I agree, I just really wish they would try it though, at least in pre-season and see how they like it.
    Him and Kadri could be a good match. That is obviously, if Kadri starts going easier on the toe drags and passes more oftenly. But I would be more than willing to experiment with both players. I think you kinda have to, at least with Gardiner, so weīll see.

  7. #7
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    I think I'd move him, and let someone else try that experiment before doing that myself. The forward position ON A GOOD TEAM, is no less complex than defense (foecheck, board play, back-checking). To reprogram him, in my eyes, would be a collosal waste of time. Either he can play defense, which I'm willing to hedge my bets on, or move him out and give someone else a try. The world of the NHL slows down for no one. There is no time to be babied, except those first few years after being drafted. I think playing him and Reilly together is giving neither any opportunity to really put their best foot forward though, and for the life of me, don't know why they did this last year. I really like the talent, but I don't think he has any kind of game IQ. His speed and elusiveness should buy him more time out there, but he still makes some rediculous plays out there (skating in circles like pond hockey).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrJamesNaismith View Post
    I think I'd move him, and let someone else try that experiment before doing that myself. The forward position ON A GOOD TEAM, is no less complex than defense (foecheck, board play, back-checking). To reprogram him, in my eyes, would be a collosal waste of time. Either he can play defense, which I'm willing to hedge my bets on, or move him out and give someone else a try. The world of the NHL slows down for no one. There is no time to be babied, except those first few years after being drafted. I think playing him and Reilly together is giving neither any opportunity to really put their best foot forward though, and for the life of me, don't know why they did this last year. I really like the talent, but I don't think he has any kind of game IQ. His speed and elusiveness should buy him more time out there, but he still makes some rediculous plays out there (skating in circles like pond hockey).

    I agree. The way he plays is sporadic and he's definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to hockey smarts. He does stupid things sometimes but as a whole I would take his offensive potential and speed over that.

    The issue and why it stands out is because of:

    1. Carlyle's system and how bad this defensive approach is

    and 2. How poor our corps is defensively. On a team like Boston with guys like Seidenberg, Chara, McQuaid, etc. guys like Krug and Hamilton are studs because it evens out. Gardiner would thrive in that situation.

    The Leafs have far too many offensive guys who aren't good defensively.

    Franson, Gardiner, Rielly, Phaneuf (to an extent) it just doesn't cut it.


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  9. #9
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    Franson should be gone, but it comes down to who you want as your third pair guy going forward (At least next season) on a team that needs Defensive Defencemen, Gunnerson or Gardiner? Gunnerson is that guy if you want that safe player that doesn't take chances. So do you trade Gardiner and hope you win the trade? Or do you play around with him and see if you can get a spark up front from the 2nd or 3rd line? I try him on left wing, and then you can still use him on the back end on the PP so you don't have to dress 7 D-men.
    If you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.

  10. #10
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    But there is a risk. If he can't adapt to playing wing, do you just put him back on D? That would create a hole either way which is tough to do.

    I think if they were gonna do it they should have tried earlier.


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuckyLuke2 View Post
    But there is a risk. If he can't adapt to playing wing, do you just put him back on D? That would create a hole either way which is tough to do.

    I think if they were gonna do it they should have tried earlier.
    Well that's why I suggested Pre-season, because there's way too many games anyways, try him for a couple and see if he fits, you can always make a trade before the season starts if it's not working out. We have a few guys who could fill the hole either way with guys like Leivo and Percy waiting in the wings.
    If you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.

  12. #12
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    Oops..lol,sorry.
    Nah,I keep him as Defense man,if he was bigger stature and slower,maybe,but his such a great puck moving defense man. Not a good idea.
    Last edited by MoneyBall20; 05-12-2014 at 11:01 PM.

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  13. #13
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    He is 6'2" Just doesn't look it because he was the third shortest guy on our Defense this season. I just think having him flying up the wing can get a lot of breakaways or at the very least, back up the D of a team like Boston or NYR when Kessel isn't on the ice. We got pinched on way too much this season with all of the speed we lost from last year, and this move would also allow us to get a more defensive defensemen or Percy a shot if he's ready.
    If you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.

  14. #14
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    Percy isn't ready yet I don't think. He needs some more time in the AHL but he's definitely close.

    I think Granberg is ready he should be a regular next season and Ranger will be gone. I was hoping for Brennan but accoring to Mirtle Brennan wasn't happy about not getting a shot this year (which baffles me) and he may want to leave and I am sure another team will give him a shot.


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  15. #15
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    Crazy for a defensemen that scored 20+ goals and was top 10 in the entire league for points for most of the year to not get a shot on a team as bad as this one on the back end. Not even a game.. I get that we already have a lot of offensive guys, but this guy can score goals. Again I have the feeling we will see him break out with another team. Regardless of if we move Gardiner or not, Brennan should be #7 next year. But if Percy isn't ready you can sign a veteran defensive defenseman (Douglas Murray playing like a beast for MTL in the playoffs) and then use Gardiners skils more effectively.
    Last edited by JaysLeafs98; 05-14-2014 at 01:09 PM.
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