Would Jake Gardiner be a good fit for Edmonton?

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.

  • I don’t see him as an upgrade in our top 4.

    With the young up and comers I don’t look at him unless it is a steal. Of course I would look at a trade of Musil or N Schultz for him, but one is not proven and one is too expensive.

    Does not look like a fit.

  • Do what Weight did?

    I agree with everything JG said. I don’t see how we improve by adding 3-4 type, non-bruising defenders. From where I sit, any moves right now should revolve around getting bigger/tougher.

    I’d also hate to give up a prospect like Musil. It sounds like he has the tools to fill a void on the team, with one key weakness. I hope the coaches and player development personnel have him working on his skating on a daily basis. Whether it’s sprints after every game/practice or dry-land training, I believe players can get faster through hard work. It may take a couple of years, but if he wants an NHL shot, he’s probably going to have to commit to improving his foot speed.

    Last, in full agreement with Gregor about Yakupov. Trading him for a 3-4 D man is out of the question. Starting to wonder though, (can’t blame JG for this idea) if we could get Bernier (+?) for yakupov, if that might be worth it. Knee jerk? Yup, but IF Dubbs isn’t the answer, then we need to find a franchise goalie sooner rather than later

    Oh yeah… And Omark for Weber

    • Unless a top young goalie prospect falls in our lap I think you have to give Dubnyk the benefit of the doubt and let him work himself out of the funk he is in.

      2 games in he has not looked like the goalie he has shown himself to be the last couple of years. Way too early to give up major assets for something that may not be an improvement over what we already have.

  • pkam

    Is there any validity to these, or is this just Bob Mac speculating on how the Oilers need better defence. Because from my perspective, everyone seems to be going off that without getting any word from Mac T on whether he is looking to make this deal.

    Because it really seems like TSN is just trying to make news. I thought our D was outstanding against Winnipeg, Dubnyk single handily lost that game for the Oilers. Vancouver I can’t really speak to but I would be surprised if it had nothing to do with the fact Hall and Arcebello were up against Henrick and Kesler. As for New Jersey, yes. I mean maybe our D is still struggling a little bit, but compared to last year where we’d be hemmed in for ages, and couldn’t get the puck out or make an outlet pass, it’s not even close.

    Point being we’ve won one game of three, we still have key players injured. Belov was always going to take a little bit of time to adjust. And we need our goalies to make some of the saves they’ve been giving up. Take away Dubnyks really bad goals and suddenly we’ve given away 10 goals in 3 games, and won at least two of them.

    As for Gardiner in Edmonton. Meh, I would rather give our defence a bit more time to see what they can do.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I agree with the guys ahead of me in saying no to getting Gardiner. Although he has skill he is too much more of the same the Oilers have now….no meanness and he lacks big size to easily push out guys away from the net…which is exactly what the Oilers now need for defence.

    The Oilers have puck moving guys on the team now with Petry, J. Schultz, Belov, Grebeshkov, even Ference (to a degree) and then there is Potter as well. In the AHL… the Oilers have Klefbom, Gernat, Marancin, Fedun, Hunt, etc, who are mainly bigger (except Hunt) and all can move the puck/pass it up forward easily.

    If the Oilers want another defenceman he has to be a type top 1/2 guy or a very good skating big/heavy, mean, tough hard hitting SOB who lets the other team be afraid…very afraid…. in other words a type of Weber, Pronger, Subban, and/or even a Jacob Trouba kid.

    BTW, the Oilers do have one top 1/2 defenceman in the future (like Trouba fo the Jets) who is big, mean, has excellent skills and can skate awesome….and his name is Nurse…Darnel Nurse.

    So I say no to getting Gardiner.

    • washed up

      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.

      • Thumby

        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.

    • CaptainLander

      I think Klefbom (living to potential say by next year) has a skill set more to what the Oil need vs Gardiner. I think he could bring more defensively then Gardiner. If things are not wherr the need to be with Klefbom by the end of this year then I consider it.

  • Jason Gregor

    I’d be leery of Gardiner. The Oilers have enough non-physical D-men. They need to add a puck mover, but one with size and strength, which Nurse should be.

    I understand the argument he’d be an upgrade, potentially, over N.Schultz, but long term I think Nurse and Klefbom because of their size and skillset will be better to fill in holes on the backend.

    If Leafs want to trade him for a prospect then I’d seriously look at it, but in Toronto they speculated about Yakupov. Seriously. Laughable.

    • My thoughts exactly.

      We don’t need another smallish soft offensive D man, a river boat gambler who has diffciulty getting back into defensive postion to stop the oppositions, odd man rush back

      We have two very similar players in Fedun and Larsen on the farm

      Not to mention Grebs, and justin Schultz as offensive D men on the team

      on top of that, to give up value to get more of the same by way of trade is addition by subtraction, no thanks!

      • Quicksilver ballet

        While we’re talking Toronto…

        How was it Kessel got an 8 yr deal when that was supposedly limited to teams whom originally drafted the player? Thought he was limited to 7 since he was drafted by Boston and not Toronto.

    • Spoils

      There has been a lot of chatter about the millions of bottom 4D we have. As much as I loved the 4 goal 3rd period, we aren’t contending this year.

      Still, I believe it is time to mortgage the future (draft picks and players that won’t be on the team in 3years). Trading guys that have potential before they underwhelm is one of the great ways a GM can add value.

      Aren’t we expecting the D to look like this when we win a cup? Klefbom was 1st team allstar at the WJC (so in the company of Alex Pietrangelo Erik Karlsson PK Subban Drew Doughty Kris Letang Ryan Suter). Nurse was a “young larry robinson” at camp.

      Nurse- Klefbom
      Schultz- Petry
      Smid- (Marincin/Simpson/Gernat etc.)

      If Klefbom is not the #1 guy let’s package him up and trade him, but to get a bona fide #1 like a Pronger, we’ll be forced to give stuff up (like maybe even a Gag, Yak or Ebs).

      Priority this year should be making the call on whether or not Nurse/Schultz/Klefbom can be first team NHL All Stars norris winning cup champs.

      goaltending and puzzle pieces(Gazdic(s) for example) are the trades we need to make immediately.

      • The Oilers Shot Clock

        We shipped out a decent sized, soft, puck moving d-man in Gilbert a year and a half ago so why bring in another one to add to the pile?

        It is way too early in the season to be talking about mortgaging the future. The best course of action right now is for MacT to be patient for a bit and let the team gel. There was a decent amount of turnover, another new system for the players to learn, and the team started with their top 2 centers on the IR. I did not expect the Oilers to be a playoff team this year (and stated so), and deep down I doubt that MacT did either. There are still too many pieces missing.

        As far as trading the prospects, this team is still 2 years away from being a solid playoff tem let alone a cup contender, if it ever will be.Why waste young assets now on a stopgap player or two that will not make much of a difference at all? Right now the Oilers need to develop system depth (which is sorely lacking at forward) in order to fill roster holes with solid and cheap young players in the future. This is the Detroit model that has been copied in Chicago, and with Nuge, Hall and Ebs locked in longer term as cornerstones the Oilers could follow this model as well. I know that the fans are restless, but it will take two years to clean up Tambi’s mismanagement of the roster, if not 3.

        • Spoils

          I am not saying Gardiner is right. I am saying we should be thinking about whether or not Klef etc. are. and not be afraid to trade while they have mystique.

          I am saying we should aim to win in 3-5yrs and so trading draft picks (maybe not this year) and packages of prospects to get a puzzle piece who will fit that time frame (top goalie/#1D) makes sense to me.

          I like the idea of the Detroit model, but if Edmonton is structurally challenged e.g. small market, then focusing on windows of years to win seems smart. Strikes me one of those windows is coming up.