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Just how good is Jake Gardiner?

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07-30-2013, 10:41 PM
  #1
phillycheesesteak
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Just how good is Jake Gardiner?

I remember pretty well in the middle of the 2011-2012 season how it seemed as if Gardiner was starting to hit the 'rookie wall' and his play was declining. The leafs in February hit their wall too and the team was in an absolute free fall. Amongst all the terrible things going on, Gardiner only got better. He finished the last 18 games (basically all under Carlyle IIRC) with 11 points and some highlights that we haven't seen from our Dmen in a long, long time. Gets concussed during the lockout and really wasn't himself for the entire year in the AHL, and his brief time during the NHL season that he played. Still he managed to put up 4 points in 12 NHL games, and a very impressive 31 points in 43 AHL games.

His progress after his first 1.5/2 years of hockey? Forwards, but still a little uncertainty in his future.

When you look up and down the leafs roster and what they did in the playoffs, almost everyone played their absolute best hockey, but hockey we knew they were capable of playing since we saw glimpses of it during their time with the leafs. Jake Gardiner on the other hand, really showed us that he is capable of being -- possibly -- our best Defencmen next year. Lupul said it best,

"Uh, there’s one guy who comes to mind, but I don’t want to say it, too much pressure,” said Lupul. “I played with him in Anaheim." [Niedermayer for the reference inept.]

With Gardiner's vision, skating, puck management and accurate shot the comparison does seem far, but obviously does not mean it is true.

Will Gardiner, in the next 1-3 years develop into a premier NHL D who can put up big point totals? Or will he always be struggling to find the consistency in his offensive game, and struggle in the Dzone?

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07-30-2013, 10:44 PM
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Hurt
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If his play in the playoffs was any predictor of his future play, I think we're in for a treat.

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07-30-2013, 10:44 PM
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Bodybr3ak
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He has the potential to be elite and I personally think he pulls it off!

But only time will tell.

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07-30-2013, 10:45 PM
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HappyGilmourr
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if everyone shuts up and doesn't jinx him he could hit 60 + points easily... his offensive capabilities are off the charts

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07-30-2013, 10:48 PM
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Pi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bozak View Post
if everyone shuts up and doesn't jinx him he could hit 60 + points easily... his offensive capabilities are off the charts
I hope he does that after he signs his next contract.

I have no doubt that we're in for a treat in a year or two. Gardiner just possesses that game breaking ability that very few defenseman have.

Carlyle used him well in the playoffs, let's hope that continues into next season.

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07-30-2013, 10:49 PM
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Kessely Snipes
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He was amazing in the playoffs, hopefully he picks up from where he leaves off.

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07-30-2013, 10:51 PM
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MapleLeafs9
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Originally Posted by Hurt View Post
If his play in the playoffs was any predictor of his future play, I think we're in for a treat.
This. Gardiner was arguably controlling the game in games 5 and 6, it was truly incredible. Was also solid in game 7 until the last 10 minutes and OT like everyone else.

I think we got a stud. Francois who?

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07-30-2013, 10:51 PM
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Rayzorexe
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Very good imo...his speed and ability to move the puck is one I haven't seen for a while on the Leafs. If Gardiner plays out the full 82 game season this year with 2nd PP Minutes (Phaneuf and Franson if he still here gets #1), I can see him getting around 40 to 50 points this year. The only issue for me is depending on well he plays, his next contract is likely going to be a big raise and I just hope the cap rises high enough to sign Phaneuf, Kessel, and Reimer as well.

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07-30-2013, 10:51 PM
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Duke Silver
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One of the best skating defencemen in the league. Great at skating the puck out of danger, and also fantastic at slicing through the neutral zone and entering the offensive zone. Offensive acumen is off the charts and he would be a major threat for 50+ points if given top-4 minutes and PP1 time. The defending part of his game has come a long way (especially in the playoffs) but he still has some work to do. Needs to get stronger so he can handle the cycle down low and battles in front of the net. Overall, a highly-intelligent, smooth skating, shifty offensive defenceman. Reminds me of a taller Dan Boyle.

With him and Rielly in the fold, loving the mobility of our defence in the future.

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07-30-2013, 10:55 PM
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Hurt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bozak View Post
if everyone shuts up and doesn't jinx him he could hit 60 + points easily... his offensive capabilities are off the charts
Yeah people talking about him on an internet forum will jinx him.

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07-30-2013, 11:01 PM
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DionPhaneuf3
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Erik Karrlsson like in his prime, IMO

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07-30-2013, 11:05 PM
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phillycheesesteak
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Erik Karrlsson like in his prime, IMO
Bit extreme. A PMD prime is what, ages 23-26? So you think in the next 3-4 years he wins a Norris and is known as a top 3 D in the league?

I think a Dan Boyle career is more likely.

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07-30-2013, 11:05 PM
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Guy Boucher
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I never saw him as more than a #3 (maximum a #2, if many things went well for him).

But after the playoffs, I now hold him in much higher esteem. Not only was he absolutely dynamic offensively, his defensive game was very, very strong in the post-season. Clearly whatever Carlyle worked with him on...worked.

I think he has a very exciting future.

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07-30-2013, 11:07 PM
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Diatomic
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If he was given 1st Defensive unit time + 1st PP Time, theres NO doubt in my mind that he would get 60points. Kid is a stud, all he needs is a Stay at home D-Partner so that when he joins the rush he knows theres someone that's got his back.

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07-30-2013, 11:09 PM
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phillycheesesteak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diatomic View Post
If he was given 1st Defensive unit time + 1st PP Time, theres NO doubt in my mind that he would get 60points. Kid is a stud, all he needs is a Stay at home D-Partner so that when he joins the rush he knows theres someone that's got his back.
I REALLY like Ranger as his partner. If our corps looked like this next season.

Phaneuf - Gunnar
Gardiner - Ranger
Fraser- Franson.

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07-30-2013, 11:17 PM
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Kb21
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larger body kris letang. has shown flashes of it in the playoffs.

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07-30-2013, 11:20 PM
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Tak7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillycheesesteak View Post
Bit extreme. A PMD prime is what, ages 23-26? So you think in the next 3-4 years he wins a Norris and is known as a top 3 D in the league?

I think a Dan Boyle career is more likely.
Thumbs up. I really like the Dan Boyle comparison.

He's a very intelligent player, and has lots of intangibles you can't measure on the score sheet - hockey IQ and such.

Maybe the most entertaining player to watch on this team.

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07-30-2013, 11:21 PM
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reminds me of scott niedermayer

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07-30-2013, 11:27 PM
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Diatomic
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I looked back at Bob Mckenzie's prospect rankings in the year Gardiner was drafted, he wrote something like this.

'Gardiner is one of the fastest skaters in the draft, but sometimes it seems like his legs move faster than his head'

I laughed a little, that statement was hilarious but I also think Gards has higher hockey IQ than rather than being a pure puck rusher, he's more calm and fluid if anything.

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07-30-2013, 11:47 PM
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Aplayaz2000
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he's a quality d man

similar to Rielly
but Gardiner is "all" about offense

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07-30-2013, 11:52 PM
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Tak7
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Originally Posted by Aplayaz2000 View Post
he's a quality d man

similar to Rielly
but Gardiner is "all" about offense
His defensive game is supposed to be better than Reilly's.

His defensive game is also a very underrated part of his game. People see Gardiner as this great puck moving Dman, who skates so fluidly and always sees the play faster than anyone else.

They fail to see his defensive IQ and his stick checking and his overall smart use of his stick without the puck

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07-31-2013, 12:04 AM
  #22
Beaninfritz
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I think the reason why he was "off" for most of the season was the concussion. Even after he came back from it, there were a few interviews where he seemed slow. It just seemed to take him an extra second or two to say simple things like yes or no to whatever questions he was asked.

As the season wore on though, he seemed to finally get his form back. IMO, the issue was the concussion. Now that he's seemed to have shaken it off (and actually has time to just take a break from physically demanding activities), I think he's going to kick some serious butt this coming season.

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07-31-2013, 02:50 AM
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The_Chosen_One
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Originally Posted by Tak7 View Post
His defensive game is supposed to be better than Reilly's.

His defensive game is also a very underrated part of his game. People see Gardiner as this great puck moving Dman, who skates so fluidly and always sees the play faster than anyone else.

They fail to see his defensive IQ and his stick checking and his overall smart use of his stick without the puck
I wouldn't consider Gardiner better than Rielly on the defensive end. Rielly thinks well ahead of the game. As for his defensive game, it's decent, but what made him effective is when he had a a OZone Start % approaching 60%.

Treat him like an offensive defenceman and he'll be effective. We don't need to have him shutting down defenceman. His game is to drive possession, and I really think that he'd be extremely effective if he plays with Phaneuf.

You'll have a puck rusher who can be the middle man between our adventurous forwards and his defensive oriented partner who can produce at a top 10 level. We just need someone to enhance the creativity on the counterattack. I could see Gardiner doing a much better job than Franson due to his mobility.

Gunnarsson is really a missing link on the top pairing. We're stopping top lines, but are not very impressive with the puck. I think a puck rusher like Niedermayer is what we require. He was excellent in a shutdown role with Beauchemin and Phaneuf is clearly much better than him in that game.

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07-31-2013, 03:04 AM
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Burdzi52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bozak View Post
if everyone shuts up and doesn't jinx him he could hit 60 + points easily... his offensive capabilities are off the charts
I dunno about 'hitting 60+ points easily'. I definitely see him producing 50ish points though if he plays anywhere near the caliber he showed us in the playoffs. I'd really like to see him paired with Ranger, I think that would be a dynamite pairing. Thoughts?

-Burdzi52

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07-31-2013, 03:20 AM
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BIitz
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Well reading this thread you'd think he was something special. Which I personally don't see. I think he is a solid young D man, but there are just SO many good young D men out there. It'd be a beautiful surprise if he was ever top 10 in Norris voting.

I personally don't view him in a very high regard. I think he's good, and I'm glad we have him. But he is a #2 at best IMO. Good skater, however offensively I don't see him with a good enough shot of a good enough passer to ever put up 50 points. Defensively, I don't even know where to begin. Poor man on man coverage, often loses his man in coverage, poor defensive positioning, and an overall below average hockey IQ defensively. I think he's comparable to Kevin Shattenkirk, maybe not as good, though. Should be mid 40 point defender most seasons, which is great. I've compared him to Shattenkirk for a while now, both should play on the 2nd pairing and are really good skaters. I think Shattenkirk has a much better shot though.

I also think he is insanely overhyped. People constantly talk about the small sample size that was the playoffs as some sort of coming out party. I also don't think he is the future of this defense, and to be honest I'd be surprised if he was still wearing a Maple Leaf sweater in 5 years. The playoffs were nice, and he led our defensemen in zone entries though.

Overall my opinions on him are - Meh, good player, doesn't excite me nearly as much (or at all) as most of the posters here. I can name around 10-15 defenders around his age I'd rather take than him.

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