Would Jake Gardiner be a good fit for Edmonton?

Jonathan Willis
October 09 2013 09:47AM

So the Jake Gardiner rumours have started up again. CBC’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the 23-year-old defenceman is a topic of conversation between the Leafs and other NHL teams, and given his difficulties getting ice-time from Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle that makes a certain amount of sense.

Does it make sense for the Oilers to be interested?

The Edmonton End

It just might make sense for the Oilers.

Some would argue that, because the Oilers have approximately a million defencemen split between the NHL and the AHL. And they might have a point: while the Oilers’ left side defence is relatively weak at the moment, prospects like Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom and Martin Marincin all play the position. Given enough time, things should work themselves out, and as to the interim that’s what Ladislav Smid and Nick Schultz and Andrew Ference are for.

The case for is pretty straight-forward, though: Gardiner not only has strong potential, but moved out of Carlyle’s system it’s not crazy to think he’s a solid top-four option right now. Gardiner had a solid NHL rookie campaign in 2011-12, playing 21:35 per game for Toronto. Last year he had to wait for his shot, but he was close to the point-per-game mark in the AHL and delivered strong two-way play in 12 regular season games with the Maple Leafs and six more in the playoffs. This is a guy who is ready for a significant role now, and he certainly fits Craig MacTavish’s vision of a mobile defence corps that can also move the puck.

The Toronto End

Here’s how Elliotte Friedman assessed the return the Leafs might be looking for in his report:

If the Maple Leafs do decide to do it, it's going to be for a young asset or assets. So, you have to look at teams with talented young players.

James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail wrote on this topic too. The full article is here, but the gist of the argument is that the Leafs aren’t really a Randy Carlyle team on defence because they lack both physical players and shutdown types. Unfortunately for Toronto, they don’t really have the money to add that kind of player, so instead they have to settle for youth.

A Trade?

Toronto still needs defenders, and Edmonton would need to move some out, but the problem is that aside from Nurse (who can reasonably be excluded from trade discussions) they don’t exactly have a bunch of physical shutdown types they can move; David Musil might be the only guy who qualifies and he likely isn’t good enough to be the centerpiece of a trade with the Leafs. If it’s a Gardiner-specific issue, the Oilers could offer a bigger guy like Martin Marincin (who has a lot of the same skills) or unsigned defender Dillon Simpson, but these are ‘more of the same’ type moves. If not for the money, a guy like Nick Schultz might appeal (as might Ladislav Smid, though the Oilers may prefer to hang on to him), but perhaps that could be worked around if the Oilers took back a contract (such as Nikolai Kulemin).

Still, it’s hard to construct a plausible scenario that would appeal to both teams, so while it might make sense for the Oilers to be interested it’s difficult to see how they get a deal done.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 madjam
October 09 2013, 05:57PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

First I think Leafs are giving up to early on Gardnair,unless he has health issues, ON the other hand why would Oilers need him, we have the other pea that came from the same pod, in Jr. Schultz . I think one of these is enough, even though Schultz is much better , but they both came from the same school...and system. Kinda shows on the ice today.

Oilers need a heavy , hitting D man , that can skate. PS SMid is a poor imitation of one.

We already have one , but they sent him back to juniors because of the money and cap issue . Nurse is the one I speak of .

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#102 Thumby
October 09 2013, 06:07PM
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washed up wrote:

That being said, if your MacT do you call up the Jets and see if their interested in a Yakupov for Trouba straight across. I think this trade could make sense for both teams. I could see a pair of him and Nurse drastically changing the complexion of the oilers defense.

I liked Trouba's game the other night...

BUT in what universe is a kid who has one good game against your team worth a #1 overall pick sniper like the Yak?

Time will tell but Trouba could go into the tank just as fast as a Yak top chedder snapper.

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#103 pkam
October 09 2013, 06:11PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I think you misunderstood. I meant Nashville.

Why are we talking about trade between Nashville and NYR?

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#104 Smokey
October 09 2013, 06:26PM
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I don't get how a player is constantly in trade talks because he can barely stick with TO, is expected to fetch like a king's ransom. People in TO only want to trade him if they get a top drawer prospect or top roster player. I don't get or buy the talk to Edmonton. I don't see a need for him, or think we need a another soft defensemen. We got Justin Schultz, and we barely afford another developing liability. We need a bruiser, Matt Green, or Smith type.

I'd rather wait for one of Klefbom or Nurse or Marincin, Gernat, or Davidson to develop.

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#105 djc
October 09 2013, 06:28PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

If you survived the Gretzky deal in 88, i'm sure you'd live to tell the tale of a Yakupov deal. It doesn't get any worse than that Gretzky deal. Time tested and true Oiler fans have seen their share of deals where the best player in the deal was always leaving this city.

I can really see why the Harry and djc types are just so bitter nowadays. They've got nuthin!

You are a sad old man who whines all day and night long on the internet. You must have such a full life considering the amount of time you spend posting your nonsense. Is this the only attention you receive from people? I can see why you can't hold down a job.

You consider yourself a "true Oiler fan"?!? Aren't you the idiot who was making fun of Pelss when he died?

Have a good night cuddling with your Weber poster, old man.

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#106 gcw_rocks
October 09 2013, 07:55PM
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If the Oilers could get Gardiner and Kulimen for Schultz and another asset, that would be pretty sweet for the Oilers.

You could do

Hall - RNH - Eberle

Perron - Gagner - Yakupov

Kulimen - Gordon - Hemsky

Joensuu - Arcobello - goon of choice

Smid - Petry

Ference - Schultz Jr

Gardiner - Belov

The left side could be switched up based on chemistry

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#107 OilClog
October 09 2013, 08:01PM
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What did the Oilers give up to get Pronger... And here ON is suggesting giving up one of the top talents on this team to get another Pronger... How do we get a GM that pull a trade off like that first Pronger trade again.. This place can make heads explode, ridiculous.

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#108 Cynic
October 09 2013, 09:14PM
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The Oilers were gifted Pronger by a bankrupt STL. That will never happen again.

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#109 oilerjed
October 09 2013, 09:20PM
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TeddyTurnbuckle wrote:

Watching monday's game I thought Smid and Nick Shultz really struggled making passes. In fact they looked terrible.

This seems to be a common ailment to many Dmen paired with Shultz Sr.

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#110 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 09 2013, 09:36PM
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@djc

Guess I sure hit that nail on the head when i mentioned the bitterness thing, eh.

You're living proof of that old adage. It's best a fool remain silent, than speak and remove all doubt. Be well loser.

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#111 Wonger
October 09 2013, 10:04PM
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kawi460 wrote:

He can't skate or play the game... why do you think he got moved to LW?? Now he plays 3 mins a night

You. Are right! I just am hoping for more toughness/aggression/bite on defense ,though I love ANDREW FERENCE!!! He and CHARA were agreat tandem in BOSTON!!!

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#112 nick
October 09 2013, 10:50PM
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@Wonger

aer you kidding me. Andrew Ference is a small under sized defenceman that is over hyped in Edmonton. Why people think the Oilers have a top defenceman in Ference is amazing. He is already -4 and the season is 3 games in. Over hyped addition

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#113 Oilerr Al
October 10 2013, 08:53AM
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madjam wrote:

We already have one , but they sent him back to juniors because of the money and cap issue . Nurse is the one I speak of .

I am with you Madjam, on Nurse. Was the right move by the Oilers. ON a different commentary, I seriously suggested Nurse could be another Pronger.

My point was a need right now.. sending Nurse back was the right thing to do.. we need help NOW. Back end still cant move the puck up quickly and Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to soft.

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#114 Zarny
October 10 2013, 02:02PM
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No, the Oilers should not pursue Gardiner.

He's certainly a good player and if you look at him in isolation any team in the NHL would like to have Gardiner in their lineup.

Winning the Stanley Cup however, is about the right mix of players; and Gardiner is more of the same.

He's no different than David Perron. In isolation, he's a very good player. However, he's more of what the Oilers already have and does nothing to address what the Oilers are missing.

On the blueline the Oilers need a legit shutdown D like Braydon Coburn who can physically matchup against big F like Getzlaf, Perry, Toews etc. The Oilers right now have no one who fits that bill.

Up front the Oilers need a power F like Jeff Carter or Nathan Horton...not David Perron.

The #1 picks have given Edm the skilled F they need but until MacT addresses the Oilers deficiencies they have no hope of ever contending.

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#115 Wonger
October 10 2013, 02:52PM
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nick wrote:

aer you kidding me. Andrew Ference is a small under sized defenceman that is over hyped in Edmonton. Why people think the Oilers have a top defenceman in Ference is amazing. He is already -4 and the season is 3 games in. Over hyped addition

-4 is a team defence problem. FERENCE is a great captain and leader who can drop the gloves and go with much bigger guys!!!! A super-coditioned athlete!!!! Ask CHARA what having Ference as a teammate and d-partner meant to his game over the last number of years!!! FERENCE IS A WINNER!!! end of story BUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#116 CK
October 17 2013, 12:24AM
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I could see a swap for Nurse, but anything else would be uncivilized!.. he is tailor made for Carlyle's rock em sock em brand of hockey.. and Oil fans cant cry about getting a future all star either. well actually, they probably will... but not for long.

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