The Hurricanes have signed UFA defenseman Jake Gardiner to a four year deal.
The market was a bit softer for Gardiner than most anticipated. Concerns about the blueliner’s history with back injuries could have limited the interest.
According to discussion by Elliotte Friedman and The Fourth Period, the Toronto Maple Leafs are actively pursuing a trade involving Mike Richards. Dion Phaneuf seems like the most probable candidate to be traded, but the Leafs are also entertaining offers on Nazem Kadri, James Reimer, Jake Gardiner, Cody Franson, and Joffrey Lupul.
The team is also interested in obtaining Jordan Eberle and Ryan O’Reilly, and any trade involving those players will likely contain Phaneuf. However, it is unknown if he is willing to wave his limited no-trade clause.
If the Leafs continue to struggle, which is likely, a trade will occur soon.
Image from Lisa Gansky via WIkimedia Commons
Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Sun reports on trade chatter surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Amongst the chatter, the Dallas Stars are interested in Joffrey Lupul. Lupul, 31, is signed through 2017-18 at a cap hit of $5.25 million. Also, unidentified teams are interested in Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel.
Zwolinski also reports that Ryan O’Reilly would be available for Nazem Kadri and one of Cody Franson or Jake Gardiner, though Arizona is said to have offered Keith Yandle for the Avs’ centerman.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed restricted free agent defenseman Jake Gardiner to a five-year contract extension worth $20.25 million.
Gardiner, 24, scored 10 goals and 11 assists in 80 games with Toronto last season.
This contract could be a steal for Toronto if Gardiner develops into the player the Leafs believe he could be. He will immediately get a chance to prove his worth with Carl Gunnarsson’s departure which left an opening on the team’s top defensive pairing.
An interesting trade was suggested yesterday by David Staples of the Edmonton Journal. He tweeted:
A deal of this nature would make a lot of sense for the Toronto Maple Leafs if they are looking to retool. It seem as if there is a lack of confidence and a pressure to trade captain Dion Phaneuf before his NMC/NTC kicks in. On top of that, Jake Gardiner is expendable. I believe that a trade like this could happen if the Leafs are looking to move on from their current core, which has yet to achieve anything significant.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are not shopping their captain Dion Phaneuf despite recent rumors, which were fueled by the hiring of Brendan Shanahan and recent comments of a culture change made by MLSE president Tim Leiweke.
However, Dreger adds that Phaneuf is not considered untouchable and GM Dave Nonis may entertain the right offers. He also dismisses the Jake Gardiner and Nazem Kadri trade rumors, but also mentions that both young players could be moved under ideal circumstances.
As far as Phaneuf is concerned, he will be difficult to move as his new seven-year, $49-million contract becomes effective on July 1st. It is difficult to justify that kind of money for a defenseman who is better suited as a second-pairing blueliner.
Darren Dreger reports:
Once Randy Carlyle was extended, you had to figure the rumors on Gardiner, who wasn’t a favorite of the coach, would ramp up.
Kulemin and Bolland are eligible to be UFAs this July, so the Leafs can’t expect to get full value back.
Damien Cox of the Toronto Star believes that the Toronto Maple Leafs may be willing to trade Nazem Kadri or Jake Gardiner in a package deal for the Florida Panthers first overall pick. He believes that Dale Tallon is being pressured by ownership to win now. Cox stated, “You’d have to view as untouchable the 2015 first-rounder and Rielly. Either Phil Kessel or James van Riemsdyk would be too expensive. After that, however, there would be possibilities, one of which would be Jake Gardiner. Nazem Kadri? An intriguing debate.”
The deal makes sense for the Leafs. Kadri struggles to fit in with the team and it seems as if coach Randy Carlyle is frustrated with both Kadri and Gardiner. Drafting at first overall would allow the team to draft a player that they could build around. The 2014 NHL Entry Draft is often criticized as being weak in comparison to 2015, but the Leafs would be able to draft an organizational need and it would provide the team with a new identity, something they desperately need.