So TSN’s Darren Dreger called it:
In light of the Leafs skid, a simple swap NHL-AHL swap…Holzer for Gardiner was being considered. Trade market for others isn’t there yet.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 13, 2013
I can’t say that I am surprised by this move, it seemed to have been set in motion by Gardiner’s agent’s #FreeJakeGardiner campaign (If you don’t know what I’m talking about click here). The twitter fiasco isn’t the only reason for this move, the Leafs have been struggling as of late and a lot of that has to do with their defense. They have been trying to combat their defensive problems with defensmen they already have, but are still on a five game losing streak.
There is another question that is raised by this move. Why was Gardiner in the AHL for so long? I think it has to do with Randy Carlyle. Carlyle’s style of play leans towards defensive defensemen, this Gardiner is not. He was initially sent down because he wasn’t fully healed from the concussion he sustained while playing for the Marlies during the lockout. He’s stayed down because his style of play doesn’t fit into to Carlyle’s system. Unfortunately for Carlyle the Leafs most talented defensmen are offensive, which is why his system has been falling apart. The return of John-Michael Liles was a good first step but with the addition of Gardiner we might see the Leafs defense start to shine.