if we're able to put him in an package or multiple player deal to get mackinnon, drouin or barkov, i'd be interested. gardiner could still top out at a d1 but more realistically d2-3.
while he's not karlsson, smooth skating offensive d who are impact players are coveted in the nhl; besides reilly and kaberle, we haven't had anyone like gardiner in the last 10 years. there are really only a handful in that category.
the only roster players that would interest me are duchene, eberle, hall, and maybe huberdeau and seguin, but i doubt that those teams would part with those players, even if we sweetened the deal. but imo it would have to be a real first line forward to part with gardiner; i'm pretty happy with his play and wouldn't feel the urge to trade him.
with reilly coming up and guys like percy, blacker, finn having a shot to make the existing team, our d is looking like it has real potential.
Carlyle had Niedermayer on his Cup winning team. Selanne as well for those that previously said Kessel wouldn't fit with Carlyle.
Later on he had Visnovsky and Fowler who he was able to use quite effectively. All teams need PMD, even defensive ones.
Scott Niedermayer is a HHOF defenseman and was never a defensive liability but rather one of the best dmen in the league. I think its a poor comparable to Gardiner particular at this stage of his career. Might as well use Bobby Orr as a reference point for all PMD to validate their ability in any system.
Cam Fowler is more suitable of a reference point, however Carlyle was fired from Anaheim because he didn't get the team results and the errors of young Fowler (-25 & -28 in 2010-11 & 2011-12) contributed to his eventual demise also.
Gardiner played only a handful of NHL games last regular season and was even a healthy scratch in the playoffs this year under Carlyle. Gardiner is prone to give-aways and his defensive positioning in non existent when he joins the rush excessively. This would drive a defense first coach nuts where Gardiner is concerned. Even a veteran like JM Liles spent over a month in the pressbox as a healthy scratch because he didn't fit Carlyle's system, and still doesn't.
Ron Wilson pond hockey is where Gardiner excelled, because defense was a secondary concern in that system that resulted in the among the leagues worst goals against. Gardiner was free to room as he pleased.. Carlyle does not accept that and so there is a major difference in expectations. Can Gardiner be groomed and harnessed to know when and where its appropriate to attack? Sure, but it would require Gardiner to change his game to suit Carlyle's system and that is my whole point.